Total Solar Eclipse (April 8, 2024)

The long awaited total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024, is almost here.  The path of totality, where the Sun’s light is totally blocked by the Moon, through Ohio is 200 miles long and 115 miles wide.  If you’re anywhere within this path, you will see the total eclipse.  Those outside this path will see only a partial eclipse.  How long totality lasts depends on where you’re located within the path.  For those near the edge of the path totality will be shorter than for those near the center of the path.  The eclipse, from the start of the partial phase to totality and to the end of the partial phase after totality, lasts 2 ½ hours.

NEVER EVER look directly at the Sun with unprotected eyes.  Looking at the Sun with unprotected eyes can and will damage your eyesight!  Wear solar eclipse glasses and place solar filters on binoculars, telescopes, cameras, and cell phones, if using your cell phone to take pictures of the Sun, during the partial phases of the eclipse.  Make sure the glasses have printed on them “Meets the Requirement for ISO12312-2:2015” and have the manufacturer’s name and address printed on them.   An easy and inexpensive way to view the eclipse is using a pinhole projector.  The ONLY time you can look directly at the Sun during a total eclipse is when the Moon is totally covering the Sun. ONLY during totality can you take the glasses and filters off.  With the first glimmer of sunlight the protective glasses and filters must be put back on. 

When the Moon has almost completely covered the Sun look for Bailey’s beads, an arc of brilliantly shining points of light shining through valleys between mountains on the edge of the Moon.  Next comes the diamond ring effect as the last bit of sunlight vanishes behind the Moon.  Be watching – both last mere seconds before they’re gone.  Now take off your glasses and filters and behold the corona, the Sun’s outermost atmosphere visible only during a total eclipse.  Look around the edge of the Moon and you will see red areas, these are solar prominences, loops of hot gas that shoot thousands of miles into space.  You will be able to see stars and the five naked eye planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will be visible.  There will be an eerie dark around you.  The temperature will noticeably drop.  Birds will stop singing, insects will become quiet.  Experience totality – it will be over very quickly.  Put your glasses and filters back on.  As the Moon moves away, you’ll see the diamond ring and Bailey’s beads and partial eclipse again. 

On the day of the eclipse, if traveling, be at your destination early and stay late.  Ohio is expecting nearly a million visitors to view the eclipse.  Pack your patience and make sure to have plenty of water and snacks in the car and a full gas tank.  The next total solar eclipse to cross the US won’t occur until 2044.  The next total solar eclipse to cross Ohio won’t occur until 2099.  This is truly a once in a lifetime event for so many people.  Enjoy the eclipse!

Leave a Comment