On August 21, 2017 our friends in the United States will be lucky enough to witness a full solar eclipse in an event described as the astronomical happening of the decade.
If you have plans to be north of the border, we’ve got good news for you – while we won’t see the complete eclipse here in Whistler (known as the total phase) we’ll still see the moon cover a good portion of the sun. Mark your calendars and get ready with our special eclipse guide:
Eclipse Time and Date
The event is going down Monday August 21, starting at 9:11:22 AM, local time. The moon will be the furthest distance across the sun at 10:21 AM, with the entire event over by 11:37 AM.
How to Watch Safely
Your Mom said ‘Never look at the sun’ and that advice holds – looking at the sun can damage your eyes and even during a partial eclipse it is still dangerous to stare directly at the sun.
Sunglasses ARE NOT SUITABLE for protecting your eyes during an eclipse, even if they have the darkest Matrix-style lenses out there. And viewing the eclipse through a magnifying device like a telescope, camera or binoculars is also not safe, unless the device has a special solar filter.
NASA states that the only safe way to view a partial eclipse is by using a hand held solar viewer or ISO-certified eclipse glasses. You can purchase them online, or stay tuned to @GoWhistler on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as we’ll be giving them away closer to the event.
Where to Watch in Whistler
We’ve got a few ideas for where to watch the eclipse in Whistler so you can get there early, get comfortable and wait to observe the big event:
In a park – Whistler’s lakes, beaches and parks will be excellent spots to check out the eclipse. Rainbow Park in particular should give a good view of the morning sun, with Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains underneath. Meadow Park by the River of Golden Dreams is another great spot, as is Alpha Lake Park.
From the water – Grab a paddleboard, kayak or canoe and head out onto the water. There’s plenty of space out there and it will be simply magical to be floating while the heavens dance above you.
In the plaza – If you are in the Village Whistler Olympic Plaza and Skier’s Plaza offer nice open spaces. Elsewhere in town the Upper Village area where the Farmers’ Markets are held and the plaza at the base of the Creekside Gondola are also good spots to gather for eclipse viewing.
On Whistler Mountain – It goes without saying that up in the alpine will be a spectacular place to see the eclipse, with nothing but the mountain peaks between you and the sun. The Whistler Blackcomb sightseeing lifts usually don’t start running until 10 AM, however they are pulling out all the stops and starting the Whistler Village Gondola at 8:30 AM and the Peak Chair at 9 AM for those who want front row seats. Guest Services will be open a little early but we highly recommend getting your sightseeing tickets early (like the day before) for a smooth upload.
On Another Mountain – You could also head up the Blackcomb Ascent trail early in the morning and be at the Rensezvous for the eclipse, or make an early start up Skywalk, the Sproatt Alpine Trail Network, Wedgemount Lake, Garibaldi Lake or any of the other hiking trails that end up in the alpine with an easterly view – make sure you get the timing right, or you could be deep in the forest when the change starts!
It’s a big event and there’s only one chance to see it so be prepared. Keep an eye on the weather ahead of the big event, pack appropriate clothing, food and water plus your eclipse glasses the night before and get to your viewing spot early. And if you are planning to photograph the event, check out these tips from National Geographic photographers ahead of time – includes ideas for capturing the eclipse with a smartphone or a professional camera with filters.
The countdown is on! Make sure you are ready to view the eclipse safely, and if you grab a photo in Whistler we’d love to see it, and you can share with the hashtag #onlyinwhistler. Grab eclipse-watching accommodation over at Whistler.com.
Updated August 17 – we included a couple of locations in Whistler known to be selling or giving out glasses, but we have removed until we can verify whether they are ISO-certified.