Ladysmith resident recalls ‘79 total solar eclipse

Ladysmith’s George R. Weiss was on a roof of a paper mill in Pine Falls, Man., in 1979 when he snapped a picture in -20 C of the last total solar eclipse over North America for nearly four decades.

“It was quite an event because one could see from the mill roof and flat landscape the shadow of the sun arrive quite gradually,” Weiss said, recalling that morning on Feb. 26.

“Seeing the approaching shadow made it easy to position the camera correctly without looking much into the sun. I kept the lens covered till it was time to shoot the picture.”

He was shooting using a Leica M2, 90mm Elmarit, with a tripod, and Kodachrome II film.

The eclipse lasted 169 seconds and the path of totality passed directly across Manitoba as well as what is now present day Nunavut.

“During the time of total darkness the street lights came on and there was an eerie sense of quiet coming from the town,” Weiss said.

He still has the original slide and had it enlarged to create a 3.5” x 3.5” paper copy.

“The red dots around the corona the sun are at times referred to as ‘rubies’,” he said.

The next total solar eclipse is next Monday, Aug. 21 and the most northern spot of North America under the path of totality is Oregon.

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