Winnipeg Total Solar Eclipse February 26, 1979

At the planetarium, we’ve been planning for this event for over two years. The doctors (Medical Association) said there  is no safe way to watch the eclipse—so there is considerable fear about the dangerous eclipse rays. This silly announcement has created considerable confusion and hysteria. Many schools would not permit their students to watch the eclipse, as a result many families kept their children at home.

At the Manitoba Planetarium we knew that thousands of people would be travelling here to observe the eclipse, and that there were some simple measures that people could take to observe and enjoy the whole event. We ran planetarium programs, courses, and distributed Eclipse Visors — glasses in cardboard frames to permit safe viewing of the partial phases. The most important part of the Visors was the information printed on the glasses and the package. I wrote it. If anyone in a group had one of the Visors, everyone would have the information to view the event safely. After the eclipse, a study by the Optometric Society announced that no one in our region suffered permanent eye damage.

With CBC’s Bill Guest, I co-hosted the live coverage of the total eclipse. Yes we were outdoors — on the roof of the CBC building in Winnipeg.

The recording of that program is here:

https://howesound.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/eclipse-1979-remembered/

A simulation of the eclipse and the timings of the events is here:

http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/canada/winnipeg?iso=19790226

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