The Great American Total Solar Eclipse

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Experience nature’s greatest sight — a total solar eclipse! On April 8, 2024, the moon’s shadow will cross Mexico, the United States, and Canada. This spectacular total solar eclipse will amaze many millions of people. Will you be there?

If you live in North America, or are visiting it, this is the chance of a lifetime. Totality will be visible in a 100-mile-wide path that cuts through much of Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. You don’t want to miss this amazing experience. It’s nothing like a partial/annular solar eclipse and the next opportunity in North America isn’t until 2045.

In the UK, though…

We won’t be able to see a total solar eclipse in the British sky for another 127 years (and there will likely be clouds)! But contrary to what I said in my Instagram Stories, there might be the opportunity to see a partial eclipse in the western UK and Ireland, between about 19:50 and 20:50 BST.

Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester and Liverpool are among the British cities likely to have the best potential views, along with County Donegal in Ireland. There is a chance for you to see a partial solar eclipse, where a a small percentage of the sun is covered by the moon. From 1% in Liverpool and Manchester, up to 25% in Stornoway. It’s still something. So, if you’ve got clear skies, this will be visible just before sunset and it may be a good opportunity for a timelapse too.

There are between two and five solar eclipses each year, with a total eclipse taking place somewhere in the world every 18 months or so. Total solar eclipses are seen every 400 years from any one place on the surface of the Earth.
The last total solar eclipse seen from the UK was in 1999, although the only place to witness totality was Cornwall.
But close to us, in Spain, there will be a total eclipse in 2026. So guess where I’m already planning to travel…

Total solar eclipse
from – copyright © Michael Zeiler 2024

Back to this Total Solar Eclipse

Anyway, here’s one of my favourite exhaustive guides to this eclipse:

It’s storm season, so plan accordingly. The more south into the eclipse path you can go (Mexico) the more likely you are to have clear skies. Weather in places like Indiana could be a gamble, with a 75% chance of cloud cover.
Map and exact time by location:
Weather expectations:

As always with a solar eclipse, however, it is important to take appropriate safety precautions when trying to view it. This is because looking directly at the Sun with the naked eye is dangerous and can cause permanent damage or blindness. Do not take this lightly: the damage to the eyes is irreparable.
So don’t forget to pack a few sets of solar eclipse glasses. If you have binoculars or a telescope, you don’t need to buy expensive fitted filters. Just cut your own from a proper optical solar film like this stuff:

The eclipse can also be observed safely with everyday objects such as a kitchen colander or two pieces of paper and a pushpin, which can be used to create a projection screen for the sun’s rays. I’m sure you will find plenty of examples on YouTube; just err on the way to your own safety.

And now go enjoy the total solar eclipse!
Then come back here for more on Astrophotography (and maybe pictures of this eclipse from all over North America, I’ll see if I can collect the best ones)

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Creative. Nomad. Photographer. (he/him) /// formerly: Creative Director, UX Lead, DesignOps Manager, Web/Graphic Designer, Photographer, YouTuber, DJ, Public Speaker, Content Creator, AI-enthusiast, Food-Blogger... /// Award-winning Designer and Photographer, published and exhibited worldwide /// also known as Koan (DJ, Design)

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