Sky Excitement for April 2024

April’s total solar eclipse will be the last one visible from the contiguous US until 2044, according to NASA.

What does ‘path of totality’ mean?

The path of totality illustrates the stretch of land in which the moon’s shadow will travel through, resulting in a total solar eclipse.

What is ‘totality’ during an eclipse?

Totality is the stage of a solar eclipse in which the moon completely blocks the sun. This time around, it will last twice as long as it did during the 2017 total solar eclipse — the last time a total solar eclipse dimmed U.S. skies.

For this year’s solar eclipse, the path of totality is 115-miles wide and stretches from Mexico all the way to Newfoundland. Roughly 44 million people live inside the path, and about 32 million of them are in the U.S.

Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio
This map illustrates the paths of the Moon’s shadow across the U.S. during the 2024 total solar eclipse.

Those in the path will witness the moon completely cover, darkening skies as if it were dawn or dusk, according to NASA. Depending on weather in your location, temperatures are expected to drop as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Totality is the only stage of an eclipse that can be viewed with the naked eye. So if you are not in the path of totality, you must be wearing eclipse glasses at all times.

Will I be able to see the solar eclipse if I’m not in the path of totality?

The further from the path of totality, the smaller the moon’s bite will be out of the sun.

Don’t fret if you don’t have front-row seats. Practically everyone on the continent can catch at least a partial eclipse. In Seattle and Portland, Oregon, about as far away as you can get in the continental U.S., one-third of the sun will be swallowed.

While the sun will not be completely covered by the moon, a partial solar eclipse will still slightly darken skies and put on a celestial spectacle.

But remember, if you’re outside the path of totality it’s important to keep eclipse glasses on.

Melissa Hernandez De La Cruz,

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