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Total Eclipse

Chris Newton

Mar 8, 2024

Monday, April 8th will be a very special day for those interested in astronomy, the Sun, or even just spectacular sights. This is because April 8th will have our first total solar eclipse since 2017, and the last (in the contiguous U.S) until 2044! This is a major occurrence and a must-see for eclipse lovers. 

If you do not know what a total eclipse is, it is exactly what it sounds like. Typically, and much more commonly, we get partial eclipses. However, sometimes the entire Sun gets covered up, which creates a ‘path of totality,’ where you can view this phenomenon. Unfortunately for us Washingtonians, this eclipse’s path only crosses south and eastern North America. Starting down in Mexico, the path moves northeast, ending in Canada. Some notable cities within the path include Dallas, Indianapolis, and Torreón, which is very close to where the maximum time of totality can be observed. If you can’t or don’t want to travel all that way, you aren’t totally out of luck, assuming you’re willing to wait two decades. There will be another total eclipse on August 12, 2045, with a path of totality crossing northern California. 

Of course, even during eclipses, staring at the Sun is an awful idea and eye protection is required. There are plenty of options for eclipse viewing glasses, so there’s no reason to blind yourself, even if it is for the obligatory Bonnie Tyler reference. An interesting thing, however, is that those within the path of totality will be able to take off their eye protection for a short moment and safely view the eclipse with the naked eye.  

NASA has a super helpful website with an interactive map showing the path of the eclipse. It can show you the percentage of the Sun that will be covered based on where you are, and how long the total eclipse will last in places in the path of totality. It can be found here:  

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