The Eclipse Ambassadors Training Program

The Eclipse Ambassadors Training Program
The Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse as seen by the people attending the viewing event at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, Salem, Oregon.

During a solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. Credit: NASA/Dominic Hart.

In the afternoon of April 8th, 2024, a rare total solar eclipse will be visible from southern Quebec. Total solar eclipses are a spectacular astronomical phenomenon that occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, completely blocking the Sun for a short period.

This upcoming total solar eclipse is truly the event of a lifetime: the last one in Quebec was in 1972 (1932 in Montreal!) … and the next one in the big cities of Quebec won’t be until 2106!

More information is available on the Regroupement éclipse Québec website, on the Université de Montréal website dedicated to the eclipse (French only), and, for school staff, on the Discover the universe website.

Our Eclipse Ambassadors program trains university students, free of charge, to learn more about the uniqueness of solar eclipses and how to observe them safely. Ideas, materials, tips, and advice are also offered so that students participating in our program can help bring this special event to life for those around them and in their communities.

This program is part of our broader program of activities and initiatives in connection with the eclipse on April 8, 2024.


How to Register 

Would you like to be an Eclipse ambassador? The last training will be on February 9th, from 1:45 PM to 5:45 PM, in French, in person at UdeM campus MIL. Please fill out the following form, ideally before January 3oth to apply!

Note: All Université de Montréal students are welcome. However, as space is limited, people who commit to volunteering at one of the UdeM events on April 8, as well as students from the Faculty of Arts and Science, will be given priority. Beyond that, the first people to register will have priority.

Becoming an eclipse ambassador is the perfect opportunity to share your enthusiasm for astronomy and science with your friends and family, develop new knowledge and build your experience in science communication! It’s also a great opportunity to build relationships and act as a leader in your community. During the training, you’ll be equipped to participate as a volunteer in the major Université de Montréal event organized at the CEPSUM, or in the eclipse viewing at the MIL campus. If you wish, you will also be equipped to develop an initiative or contribute to an event before or during the eclipse for an audience of your choice (e.g. student associations, sports clubs, places of employment, libraries, community centres, seniors’ centres, K-12 schools or CEGEPs, etc.).

Students at the pilot training session on June 1, 2023. Credit:M.-E. Naud.

The pilot training took place on June 1, 2023, and another training took place in July. These two courses trained some sixty ambassadors, including students from all cycles of the Faculty of Arts and Science at the Université de Montréal, as well as graduate students from the Centre de recherche en astrophysique du Québec (including iREx members).

More details on the April 8th, 2023 Total Solar Eclipse

Carte Eclipse 2024 04 08 Quebec Montage Couleur

The eclipse on April 8, 2024 will be visible from all over Quebec. In the southeast, the eclipse will be total, a rare occurrence in any given location. Credit:

The solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 will be visible from all over Quebec, and will be “total” for a regional band crossing southeastern Quebec (see image at left).

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves into alignment between the Earth and the Sun. In some cases, the Sun appears partially covered by the Moon for a short time (referred to as a “partial” solar eclipse) while in others it appears completely covered (a “total” eclipse).

Partial eclipses are relatively rare. In Quebec, for example, the last two eclipses took place in June 2021 and August 2017. Total solar eclipses are visible over a much more limited area on the Earth, and are therefore extremely rare in any given location. In Quebec, the last total solar eclipse took place in 1972, and the next one won’t happen until 2079!

To find out more about the eclipse on April 8, 2024, check out

More info on the Eclipse Ambassadors Training Program

Students at the pilot training session on June 1, 2023. Credit: M.-E. Naud.

Our program aims to educate participants about the unique astronomical event that is solar eclipses, provide information on how to observe them safely, and equip participants with the skills required to be an effective eclipse ambassador. It includes scientific content training, resources, tips and tricks for equitable science communication, and ongoing support from career astrophysicists for future eclipse-related initiatives.

Workshop Format

Our 4 hr training course is currently offered in-person at the Université de Montréal campus MIL. Several interactive activities are included, inviting participants to handle materials (scale models, eclipse telescope), reflect on their role as science communicators, and examine the various important factors that need consideration when participating to a solar eclipse-related initiative.

  • 30 min – Introduction
  • 1 hr 30 min – Session I: All About Eclipses
  • 15 min – Break
  • 1 hr 30 min – Session II: What is an Eclipse Ambassador?
  • 15 min – Summary: Additional Resources and Next Steps
Participant Expectations

People safely viewing the partial solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 at Université de Montréal. Credit: A. Philibert (UdeM).

As an “Eclipse Ambassador” you will:

  1. Completes the entire 4-hour in-person training course
  2. Volunteers at events organized by the Université de Montréal in connection with the total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024. Can also commit to leading or helping to organize an eclipse-related event or other initiative*, before or during the eclipse. for an audience of his or her choice in the context of his or her choice.
  3. Fills in a short form to reflect on his or her involvement, and submits it within 5 weeks of the end of the training course (March 15, 2024).
  4. Under certain conditions, receives 50 pairs of glasses to distribute to a public of his/her choice** (outside UdeM).
  5. Completes a short report summarizing their involvement once the eclipse has passed, and takes part in an event in May or June 2024 (date to be confirmed) to celebrate the various achievements of the Ambassadors.

* Other initiatives might include: building up an eclipse-related image bank (historical newspaper articles, comics and memes, etc.), posting on social media accounts to inform people about the eclipse, translating/adapting documentation available elsewhere in the world, initiating or contributing to a citizen science project related to the eclipse, etc.

** For an audience of your choice: from your personal network (family, friends) to your wider community, including your student association, a sports or other leisure group/club (e.g. swimming club, climbing center, chess club, etc.), a workplace, municipality, public library, local museum, park or nature center, daycare center, primary or secondary school, scout group, home school group, CEGEP, community center, faith-based organization (e.g. synagogues, churches, mosques), private seniors’ residences and CHSLDs, and more.

Workshop Instructors

Marie-Eve Naud, PhD, is the Education and Public Outreach Coordinator at the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at Université de Montréal. Since completing her master’s degree and doctorate in astrophysics in 2016, which focused on exoplanets and the search for life elsewhere, she has been working in education and science communication. Notably, she has been a lead contributor to initiatives connecting young minds with astronomy/space, including Petite école de l’espace and the Exoplanets in the Classroom resource suite.

Heidi White, PhD, is the Outreach Officer at the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at Université de Montréal and at l’Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic. Prior to her current position at UdeM, Heidi completed a PhD in astrophysics, focusing on star formation and galaxy evolution. She is co-founder and primary contributor to numerous scientific outreach projects, including PASEA, the Pan-African School for Emerging Astronomers, and Astrodigenous, an online platform which aims to elevate the presence of Indigenous Sky Knowledges in Canadian K-12 classrooms.


The program is led by the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets at the Université de Montréal, and supported by the Centre de recherche en astrophysique du Québec, the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic, in collaboration with numerous partners, including Discover the Universe and the other members of the Regroupement éclipse Québec, which manages, as well as the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, which runs a similar program in the United States.