Total Solar Eclipse Expected to Cross the United States on April 8, 2024

Black Out

On April 8, 2024, North America will experience the first total solar eclipse since 2017. Those living in the path of totality, locations where the moon’s shadow completely covers the sun, will experience a darkened sky.

Path of the 2024 total eclipse. (Picture by NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio)
Path of the 2024 total eclipse. (Picture by NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio)

NASA predicts the total eclipse will begin over the South Pacific Ocean and cross over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. States expected to be in the path of totality include Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. NASA also expects the eclipse to start in Dallas with a partial eclipse beginning at 12:20 p.m. CDT. The eclipse will be visible across all mainland states.

Time to Outshine 2017

This year’s solar eclipse is expected to have a few noticeable differences when compared to the 2017 phenomenon. For example, the moon is expected to be closer to the Earth resulting in a much wider path of totality that will allow a larger population of people to witness the event. In 2017, the path ranged from 62 to 71 miles wide. This time around, NASA predicts that the path will be around 108 to 122 miles and visible around 31.6 million people.

Those living in the areas that will experience a total eclipse can expect to experience around four minutes of darkened skies as it enters the United States and around three minutes as it passes into Canada.

Every 11 years the sun’s magnetic field changes, switching from a low activity to a high activity cycle. The energy being put off affects the appearance. Low energy results in the eclipse looking symmetrical while the high energy output will make the sun appear more tangled with rougher edges.

How to Prepare for a Solar Eclipse

When viewing a solar eclipse it is important to remember that it can not be looked at directly. To view it safely you must wear eclipse glasses, a solar viewer, handheld solar viewers, or handmade pinhole viewers as shown here.

When the sun is completely covered is the only period the eclipse can be viewed safely with just the eyes. Any cameras, telescopes, or binoculars need solar filters to prevent any injury.

Maria Peralta-Arellano is a Milwaukee-native journalist who focuses on sharing news from her local communities. She dedicates her work to accessibility and producing bilingual coverage focused on arts, culture, and politics. She looks to explore her community through a journalistic and creative lens.

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