1708764687 Julie Bolduc Duval and Joel Leblanc explain everything you need to

Julie Bolduc-Duval and Joël Leblanc explain everything you need to know about the total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024 in their new book

On the afternoon of April 8, 2024, southern Quebec will be plunged into darkness due to a total solar eclipse, a rare phenomenon that only occurs in a specific location once every 375 years. Julie Bolduc-Duval, graduate in astronomy, and Joël Leblanc, science journalist, offer curious readers a book that addresses the topic and provides practical information for observing this special event in complete safety: Solar Eclipse: When the sun performs its circus.

Julie Bolduc-Duval is an astronomer and co-author of the book

Astronomer Julie Bolduc-Duval and science journalist Joël Leblanc published “Éclipse” with Éditions Multi-Mondes. © Éditions Multi-Mondes

Her book is designed as a tool that aims to democratize the understanding of eclipses. As recently as 2017, students across the United States were forced to remain in class without the unprecedented opportunity to observe an event that some considered too dangerous.

The authors demystify eclipses in their book. They tell of the many scientific discoveries, the false beliefs on the subject, and the observations of scientists over the centuries. They point out that Europeans have studied the phenomenon, but it has also been noticed in China, Iraq and even North America, particularly by indigenous populations.

Your book is relevant, interesting and very popular. Everything is explained clearly to understand the phenomenon and know the entire history of eclipses throughout the centuries.

Inform the population

“Our goal was actually to democratize the eclipse so that everyone knew about it. It is such an extraordinary event!” comments astronomer Julie Bolduc-Duval in an interview.

She learned a lot while working on this project. “What fascinated me was how long it took us to understand what eclipses were and to be able to predict them. But once we knew what they were, we used them to better understand our world.”

The astronomer, a graduate of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, recalls that the April 8 total solar eclipse was a rare event. “I experienced this in 2017 and was already working in scientific communication. I said to myself: I have to prepare the schools in eastern Canada for this moment!” exclaims the scientist, who has been working on this topic for three years.

“Everyone needs to realize how extraordinary this will be for a moment. I will remember this for the rest of my life! I really hope that in 2024 everyone can experience it and the weather will be nice… but that's a variable we can't control. We will see darkness in broad daylight: there is still something interesting to experience!”

Indigenous knowledge

The scientist explains that a video will soon be released with Innu astrophysicist Laurie Rousseau-Nepton about indigenous knowledge of eclipses. This video complements the explanations in the Eclipse book.

“Eclipses were frightening: they were like a monster devouring the sun. But in the First Nations case it was something positive: it was seen as a rapprochement between a man and a woman,” she says.

“Often the sun is the man and the moon is the woman, or vice versa, depending on the culture. It was a positive thing: we gave them their privacy and they didn't have to look. The theme of not burning your eyes was incorporated into the story. I think it's great! It’s a different way of imparting knowledge.”

The security problem

Additionally, Julie reminds us that the most important thing for safety reasons is to remember that you should never look directly at the sun with your naked eye.

“The issue of security should not take up all the space, because it is an extraordinary event that people can witness.” It happens once in a lifetime!”

Solar Eclipse: When the sun performs its circus

Julie Bolduc-Duval and Joël Leblanc

Multiworld editions

156 pages

  • Joël Leblanc has been a science journalist for almost 25 years.
  • He trained in paleontology at the University of Laval and the University of Quebec in Rimouski.
  • He produces reports for Québec Science and Radio-Canada Radio.
  • Julie Bolduc-Duval holds a degree in astronomy from the University of Victoria, British Columbia.
  • She worked at the Federal Astrophysical Observatory.
  • She is dedicated to science education in Quebec and serves as the program's general director Discover the universe.
  • The Canadian Astronomical Society awarded him the 2020 Qilak Prize for his exceptional work in training astronomy educators from elementary school to university.

To see maps of areas where the eclipse will be total (the band of totality) and safety tips: eclipsequebec.ca

“Here is a list of items you should not use when viewing a solar eclipse:

– ordinary sunglasses (even several pairs on top of each other, as they are designed to see everything that is dangerous during a solar eclipse)

– an old CD or DVD

– an old overexposed photo film (i.e. completely black)

– an x-ray

– an aluminized survival blanket

– a pack of chips etc.

These objects can inspire confidence because the objects in question are both opaque and transmit sunlight, but actually transmit too much of it. Seeing the sun dim or not feeling unwell is not a guarantee of safety.”

– Joël Leblanc and Julie Bolduc-Duval, Eclipse: When the Sun Does Its Circus, Éditions Multi Monde