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Speaker for December 2020: Don Hladiuk

Don at a Falcon Heavy launch

On December 11 at 7PM Pacific Time, join us and our guest speaker Don Hladiuk as Don shares his experiences as an observer and expedition leader chasing some of the more dynamic events we can observe from planet Earth. Don will focus on the significance of space debris impacting our atmosphere and the visceral experience of standing in the shadow of the Moon during a total solar eclipse, as he has done 15 times.

Don was born, raised and educated in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He graduated from the University of Manitoba with a BSc (Hons) degree in Earth Science in 1979.

Until 2016, Don worked as a geologist in the energy industry. He is an avid amateur astronomer and has twice been President of the Calgary chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). Since 1984, Don can be heard on the CBC morning show “the Calgary EyeOpener” where he shares recent space science news. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Don was an enrichment lecturer on a Hurtigruten ship off the coast of Norway for Road Scholar’s “Astronomy Above the Arctic Circle” program. He has been an expedition leader for solar eclipse tours all over the globe and has seen 15 Total Solar Eclipses, three annular eclipses and two rare Venus Transits. Don has asteroid 73704 named after him for his many years of community service. In November 2020 he was nominated to become a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Use this link to join our Zoom Meeting;

The Eclipsomaniacs Return from Oregon

The great eclipse adventure is over, the Eclipsomaniacs are back from the U.S., and what an amazing experience!

About half of the Eclipsomaniacs went down in their own vehicles. Brian Lucas and his wife went down several days early to Madras, setting up in the back of an abandoned commercial premise. Neil Sandy went to the Oregon Star Party. Debra MacWilliam, Bruce and Grace Fryer, Bruce Woodburn, and Ed Hanlon went down Saturday the 19th to Ron Jackson’s place in Portland and spent the day touring Portland and getting to know their hosts.

madras Aug 2017

Brian Lucas’ view in Madras

I went down in the Coast Cable TV van early Sunday morning with Brittany Broderson and her cameras, Peter Holden, Mugette MacDonald, and Kenneth Lui (NC rep for Vancouver Centre). Kenneth said that the Vancouver Centre’s 200 members had discussed putting together a group effort to go to the totality as we did, but they apparently decided it was too much effort and abandoned the idea, so that is why we took him along with us.

Brittany had been told by her TV colleagues that she might have all sorts of problems at the U.S. border, and we’d been hearing news accounts predicting horrible traffic on the way down to Portland. Neither turned out to be the case. The officer at the border smiled and wished us a good trip, and the traffic on the way to Portland on Sunday was normal Sunday traffic.

Ron and Karla Jackson did a stellar job of taking care of us all. The Saturday arrivals pitched in and had dinner ready for the second wave when we arrived. They’d also made lunches for the entire crew for Monday. After dinner, we all had a meeting to discuss the next morning’s events. Ron had all of the necessary information queued up on Karla’s computer, and distributed maps and walkie talkies. We got a few hours sleep.


Eclipsomaniacs planning session in Portland the evening before the eclipse

Monday morning Bruce Woodburn headed out the door at 2 AM to try to make it to Madras. He told us later:

I left Beaverton at 0200 and promptly got lost in downtown Portland. Once back on the freeway towards The Dalles I made good time with zero traffic. I stopped in The Dalles for a Logger’s Breakfast then continued with zero traffic towards Madras… Over the next few hours I was joined by a dozen others, many from Canada, including a young fellow who had driven by himself from Calgary with a homemade binocular solarscope. He has Astronomy Society potential.

Temp: 78F. Toilet facilities unlimited. Sky clear. No clouds, haze or smoke. View through the Astro binos was excellent. The corona extended way beyond the field of the binos.

The drive home was reasonable through Oregon and no trouble at all through Washington… Great trip !!!!

Ed Hanlon got out the door a half hour after Bruce W. Ed elected to take his camera equipment a mile away from the rest of us in Madrona Park in Monmouth where he ended up with another group of astrophotographers and got some fabulous pictures.


Astrophotographers in Madrona Park

The rest of us in Portland were on the road at 4 AM. Again, traffic volume was normal Monday morning traffic. We arrived at Main St. Park and found lots of parking. The skies were absolutely clear. We set up solar scopes and went to the coffee shop across the street to get caffeinated. The park filled up with people from all around the world who were amazed and pleased to find our Eclipsomaniacs from the RASC there to help them view the skies. We had people from all over the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Asia there. Monmouth city volunteers were handing out solar glasses, so everyone had some. Quite a number of serious photographers set up cameras and there was one other person with a telescope (8-inch Schmidt Cassegrain). Brittany set up one video camera with solar filter facing the Sun and captured the entire eclipse sequence. The other TV camera she used to interview people and record the reactions of the crowd.


Crowds in Main St Park

Hundreds of people viewed the skies through our solar scopes, which we had tracking the Sun as soon as it cleared the trees on the horizon. As the penumbra arrived, someone remarked that they wished they could take a picture. I saw that they had a cell phone and showed them how to take one at the eyepiece of my hydrogen alpha scope. Soon scores of people were coming to take photos at the eyepiece.


People in Main St Park viewing the sun with Charles’ Coronado PST

The eclipse was breathtaking. The atmosphere of the crowd was electric. As the totality approached the light went platinum: it was like being in a black and white movie. Then the sky went dark, the temperature dropped and a chill wind blew through. Sunset appeared all around us and night above. Venus shone brightly and a glorious silvery corona surrounded the Sun. The crowd went wild. Unbelievable!


After the eclipse ended, the Eclipsomaniacs all packed up and prepared to head home. Those of us in the TV van headed towards I5, while Ron and Karla tried 99W. Where it had taken us an hour to get to Monmouth from Portland that morning, it took us 5 ½ hours to get back. 6 ½ hour after that, we’d only made it as far as Renton, WA, and we got hotel rooms for the night. In the morning, we started north to the border. We dropped Kenneth off in Vancouver about 3 PM, and we finally made it back to the Sunshine Coast about 7 PM.

I am already getting thank you e mails from the crowd.

Total Solar Eclipse: Oregon, 21 August 2017

oct 23 eclipse by ed hanlon 2

Picture of a solar eclipse by member Ed Hanlon

My wife’s cousin Ron is an engineer lives in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, and has invited me and friends to his place to view the total solar eclipse on 21 August, 2017. This is the first total lunar eclipse visible from the U.S. in over 38 years: The last one passed through the Pacific Northwest in 1979. Bruce Woodburn and I are planning to drive down to view this from Ron’s part of the world. Any other members who are interested in being part of this should contact me.

Clear Skies, Charles Ennis, President

Photos of October 23 Solar Eclipse

I posted the pictures of the October 23 Solar Eclipse that club members obtained through the clouds on that date on the Photo Album page. You can check the album out here

oct 23 eclipse by ed hanlon 2.

Solar Eclipse October 23: Glimpses Through the Clouds

october 23 solar eclipse

october 23 solar eclipse

It poured with rain most of the day on the Sunshine Coast but in the afternoon there were a few brief gaps in the clouds. I was up at Chatelech Secondary School with a Coronado hydrogen alpha and we had two holes in the clouds which gave some students a view of the eclipse in progress. Some of our other members got glimpses from other locations. Ed Hanlon shared this picture he snapped through a hole in the clouds.


2017 Total Solar Eclipse


While eclipse chasers pack up and travel to various parts of the
world in search of a total solar eclipse under clear skies, we north
Americans will have one within a days drive in 2017. The date is
August 21st and the path of totality carves an east to west path
right through central Oregon. Being right on the eclipse path in
Oregon will give you about 2 minutes of totality. Depending where you
are in Oregon the eclipse will start around 9 am, end at 11:40 am with
totality around 10:20 am. This means getting there at least the day before.

Star party goers might consider that the Oregon Star party dates in
2017 coincide with the eclipse and the star party site is located
either in or very close to the path of totality with the center line
being about 2 hours drive north of the star party. With this in mind
OSP organizers are planning for there biggest year ever at the star party.

Its never to early to plan for an event of this magnitude and Hotels
in Oregon are already reporting requests for eclipse bookings. My
advice to those willing to travel to this once in a lifetime event is
to book soon because the city’s closest to the path will gradually
book all up and accommodation close to the center line will be harder to find.

More info can be found here at


or a map of the path through oregon is here at


Partial Solar Eclipse: October 23, 2014

solar viewing

solar viewing


There will be a partial solar eclipse visible in Western Canada on 23 October, covering approximately 66% of the sun. Be sure to use filters to view the sun to protect your eyes! Mylar or black polymer eclipse glasses or a #14 arc welders filter is good for viewing without a telescope or binoculars. If using binoculars or a telescope be sure to use special solar filters. The telescope depicted in the picture is a hydrogen alpha scope specially designed for safe viewing of the sun. Weather permitting, we will be setting up our solar scopes in two locations on the Sunshine Coast for the public to view this event: Davis Bay seawall at 12:30 PM and 2:30 PM at Chatelech Secondary School in Sechelt. Hope to see you there!

Times for the solar eclipse below are for Vancouver, BC:

Partial eclipse begins 1:32 PM
Mideclipse 2:57 PM
Partial eclipse ends 4:16 PM
Sun altitude at maximum eclipse 24 degrees
Maximum eclipse 66%