A Rare and Spectacular Total Solar Eclipse Awaits North America in 2024

On April 8, 2024, a rare and spectacular celestial event will take place over North America: a total solar eclipse. This is when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun for a few minutes. The sky will darken as if it were dawn or dusk, and the stars and planets will become visible. The temperature will drop, and the animals and birds will behave as if it were night.

A total solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people, as it only happens in a specific location on Earth about once every 375 years. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible in the continental United States was on August 21, 2017, and the next one will not occur until August 12, 2044. Therefore, the 2024 eclipse is a unique opportunity for millions of people to witness this awe-inspiring phenomenon.

A Rare and Spectacular Total Solar Eclipse Awaits North America in 2024
A Rare and Spectacular Total Solar Eclipse Awaits North America in 2024

The Path of Totality

The path of totality is the narrow strip of land where the total solar eclipse is visible. It is about 100 miles wide and stretches from Mexico, through the United States from Texas to Maine, and up through Canada. The duration of totality varies depending on the location, but the maximum is about 4 minutes and 28 seconds in Mexico.

The partial solar eclipse, where the Moon covers only a part of the Sun, will be visible in all of North America, as well as parts of Central America, South America, and Europe. The partial eclipse will last for several hours, depending on the location.

The following table shows the time that totality begins and ends in some major cities in the path of totality. These areas will also experience a partial eclipse before and after these times.

City State/Province Country Totality Begins Totality Ends
Mazatlán Sinaloa Mexico 11:07 a.m. PDT 11:11 a.m. PDT
Dallas Texas USA 1:40 p.m. CDT 1:44 p.m. CDT
Little Rock Arkansas USA 1:51 p.m. CDT 1:54 p.m. CDT
Indianapolis Indiana USA 2:06 p.m. EDT 2:08 p.m. EDT
Cleveland Ohio USA 3:13 p.m. EDT 3:17 p.m. EDT
Buffalo New York USA 3:18 p.m. EDT 3:22 p.m. EDT
Montreal Quebec Canada 3:29 p.m. EDT 3:31 p.m. EDT
Halifax Nova Scotia Canada 4:38 p.m. ADT 4:40 p.m. ADT

How to Safely Watch the Eclipse

Watching a total solar eclipse is an unforgettable experience, but it also requires some precautions. Looking directly at the Sun, even for a few seconds, can cause permanent eye damage or blindness. Therefore, it is essential to use proper eye protection when viewing the eclipse.

The only safe way to look at the Sun during the partial phases of the eclipse is to use special solar filters or eclipse glasses that block out most of the Sun’s light. These filters must meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for eye safety. Ordinary sunglasses, binoculars, telescopes, cameras, or other devices are not safe to use, unless they have a certified solar filter attached.

Another safe way to watch the eclipse is to project the Sun’s image onto a screen or a wall using a pinhole projector, a cardboard box, or a pair of binoculars or a telescope. This way, you can see the shape of the Moon as it covers the Sun without looking directly at it.

During the brief period of totality, when the Sun is completely covered by the Moon, it is safe to look at the Sun without any protection. However, you must be careful to put your solar filter back on as soon as the Sun reappears, as the bright light can damage

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