Planning for the Big One? Tips for Observing the April 8th Solar Eclipse

On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross North America, passing over parts of Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The eclipse will be visible from within a narrow path of totality, which is 103 miles wide. Millions of people are expected to see the eclipse, which will be the most viewed solar eclipse in history.

The path of totality will cut through 15 U.S. states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Some cities that will be right on the boundary between totality and no totality include San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

The precision of eclipse predictions is much better nowadays, but there are still a lot of variables that can differ with each eclipse, such as the shape of the moon’s terrain and how it affects the shape of the shadow on any one location, the observer’s elevation, how fast Earth is rotating, and even the apparent size of the sun.

If you’re planning to observe the eclipse, it’s important to be inside the path of totality to be guaranteed you experience a short totality. The closer you are to the centerline, the longer totality will last.

Some cities that last experienced totality in 1925 will do so again. One of them is Rochester, New York. Rochester will be near the centerline for a 3 minutes 40 seconds totality.

The next total solar eclipse in Rochester won’t be until 2144, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the people of Western New York.

Where Can I see the Solar Eclipse in the United States?

Here are the major cities in each state where you can expect to experience totality in the United States (note that the included times do not account for when the partial eclipse begins and ends):

  • Dallas, Texas: 1:40-1:44 p.m. CDT
  • Idabel, Oklahoma: 1:45-1:49 p.m. CDT
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: 1:51-1:54 p.m. CDT
  • Poplar Bluff, Missouri: 1:56-2:00 p.m. CDT
  • Paducah, Kentucky: 2-2:02 p.m. CDT
  • Carbondale, Illinois: 1:59-2:03 p.m. CDT
  • Evansville, Indiana: 2:02-2:05 p.m. CDT
  • Cleveland, Ohio: 3:13-3:17 p.m. EDT
  • Erie, Pennsylvania: 3:16-3:20 p.m. EDT
  • Buffalo, New York: 3:18-3:22 p.m. EDT
  • Burlington, Vermont: 3:26-3:29 p.m. EDT
  • Lancaster, New Hampshire: 3:27-3:30 p.m. EDT
  • Caribou, Maine: 3:32-3:34 p.m. EDT
Texas solar eclipse times for April 2024.

Other major cities along the eclipse’s path of totality include San Antonio and Austin, Texas; Indianapolis; and Rochester and Syracuse, New York.

Solar Eclipse 2024 Tools

For science enthusiasts eager to dissect the April 8th solar eclipse beyond a mere awe-inspiring spectacle, some tools can elevate your observation to a mini-research project. While certified solar eclipse glasses remain paramount for safe viewing, consider these additions to your scientific arsenal:

Science-minded eclipse chasers, April 8th offers more than just jaw-dropping beauty. Gear up for a mini-research mission with tools that push your observations beyond the spectacle. Safe viewing, of course, comes first. Certified eclipse glasses are non-negotiable. Now, let’s delve deeper.

See more: Neutral density filters, stacked on your eclipse glasses or telescope, dim the sun further, revealing fainter coronal features like streamers and loops. Or, unravel the sun’s light with a handheld spectroscope, transforming it into a rainbow that showcases the elements hiding in the corona and chromosphere.

Capture data: Unleash your smartphone’s hidden potential with spectrometer apps like SpectroMeter or Spectrum Analyzer. They turn your phone into a basic spectrometer, capturing the sun’s spectrum for later comparison with online databases. For high-resolution detail, consider DSLR cameras with proper solar filters. They freeze the eclipse in stunning images, allowing you to analyze coronal structures and brightness variations later.

Join the science party: Become a citizen scientist! Project GLOBE welcomes your temperature and cloud cover measurements before, during, and after the eclipse. Their app guides you through the process, contributing to a global understanding of the event’s impact. Or, lend your ears to Eclipse Soundscapes. Record the soundscape around you during the eclipse using their app, helping us understand how wildlife and the environment react to this celestial ballet.

Remember, responsible and safe viewing are key. With these tools and your scientific spirit, the April 8th eclipse becomes more than just a spectacle – it’s a chance to contribute to our understanding of the sun and its dance with Earth.

This 3D visualization of the 2024 total eclipse is built with real science data, and shows the shadow of the Moon on Earth. Head over to Eyes.Nasa.Gov/apps/solar-system to download.

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