2024 solar eclipse

A total solar eclipse is set to occur on April 8, with people traveling to the 115 mile-wide path of totality hoping to see the historic event. There are 31 million people in the U.S. already living in the path of totality.

On Monday, April 8, the sky will momentarily darken for millions of Americans in the path of totality during the 2024 solar eclipse.

This is the first solar eclipse to pass through North America in seven years, and the next one will not be seen from the contiguous U.S. until Aug. 23, 2044, according to NASA.

What time is the 2024 solar eclipse?

The eclipse will begin in Mexico at about 11:07 a.m. PDT, Monday, April 8 before crossing into Texas at 1:27 p.m. CDT. It will end in Maine at 3:35 p.m. EDT. Even if you’re not in the path of totality and won’t see the full eclipse, you may still see a percentage of it.

The exact time the solar eclipse will occur will vary, depending on the state and the time zone. And of course, eclipse visibility will also be dependent on Monday’s weather.

Here are the major cities in each state where you can expect to experience totality in the United States (note that the included times do not account for when the partial eclipse begins and ends):

  • Dallas, Texas: 1:40-1:44 p.m. CDT
  • Idabel, Oklahoma: 1:45-1:49 p.m. CDT
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: 1:51-1:54 p.m. CDT
  • Poplar Bluff, Missouri: 1:56-2:00 p.m. CDT
  • Paducah, Kentucky: 2-2:02 p.m. CDT
  • Carbondale, Illinois: 1:59-2:03 p.m. CDT
  • Evansville, Indiana: 2:02-2:05 p.m. CDT
  • Cleveland, Ohio: 3:13-3:17 p.m. EDT
  • Erie, Pennsylvania: 3:16-3:20 p.m. EDT
  • Buffalo, New York: 3:18-3:22 p.m. EDT
  • Burlington, Vermont: 3:26-3:29 p.m. EDT
  • Lancaster, New Hampshire: 3:27-3:30 p.m. EDT
  • Caribou, Maine: 3:32-3:34 p.m. EDT

Whether you’re experiencing the path of totality from home or traveling to witness it in person, here’s what to expect for the exact eclipse time.

Here’s the latest forecast along the path of totality:

Mazatlan, Mexico: Dry and mostly cloudy with a few breaks in the clouds. The chances of seeing the full duration of the eclipse is low due to the cloud cover. Temperatures will be in the mid 70s.
Del Rio, Texas: Dry, cloudy with a low chance of seeing eclipse, temperatures in the 80s.
Dallas, Texas: Likely dry, mostly cloudy, some breaks in clouds possible, low chance of seeing eclipse, but possible. Temperatures near 80. Storms may be flaring up across central and eastern Texas during the afternoon. At this point, it looks like they should hold off until just after the eclipse, but this will need to be watched closely.
Russellville, Arkansas: Dry, some clouds, there is a good chance of seeing the eclipse, temperatures near 80.
Carbondale, Illinois: Dry, a few clouds, mostly sunny, good chance of seeing the eclipse, temperatures in the middle 70s.
Indianapolis, Indiana: Dry, few clouds, clearing sky, good chance of seeing the eclipse, temperature near 70 degrees with gusty winds.
Cleveland, Ohio: Mostly cloudy skies clearing to partly cloudy during the afternoon. Moderate chance of seeing the eclipse, but it’s not looking like a clear sky by any means. Temperatures will be around 60 degrees.
Niagara Falls, New York: Dry, with a few high, thin clouds, but the eclipse will still be visible through them, temperatures in the 50s.
Burlington, Vermont: Dry, mostly clear, best spot to see eclipse, temperatures in the 50s.
Houlton, Maine: Dry and cool under clear skies. A great spot to see the eclipse, temperature near 50 degrees.

If you want to see partial eclipse in other parts of the country, here is the forecast:

-All of California, Nevada and Idaho will see mostly clear skies.

-Washington DC, Philly, NYC and Boston will be mostly clear.
-Florida will have some high, thin clouds, but the partial eclipse will be visible.
-The Upper Midwest, western Great Lakes and parts of the Rockies will have clouds, so the view of the eclipse could be obstructed.

When is the solar eclipse?

Commercial flights, passengers gearing up for flights to view the eclipse

As millions of Americans will be watching the celestial event from the ground, some eclipse chaser will get the view of the lifetime by watching the eclipse in the sky.

1 day until solar eclipse as millions of Americans prepare for rare evin the path of totality at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as millions of Americans finish last minute preparation and travel for the solar eclipse.

How schools are changing accommodations nationwide for total solar eclipse

From early school dismissals to watch parties and free glasses, nation’s schools are preparing students for the big celestial spectacle.

Fun crafts for kids to prepare for the solar eclipse

Mike Shanahan, planetarium director at Liberty Science Center, shares a fun craft if you weren’t able to get the special glasses in time to safely view the solar eclipse.

“Eclipse Across America,” will air live Monday, April 8, beginning at 2 p.m. ET on ABC, ABC News Live, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Disney+ and Hulu, as well as on network social media platforms.

total solar eclipse is an astronomical phenomenon steeped in lore that has captured the imaginations of sky-watchers and the curiosity of scientists for millennia.

What is the path of the 2024 solar eclipse?

The eclipse begins in Mexico, and then crosses over into the U.S. through Texas. From there, the path of totality, which is approximately 115 miles wide, extends northeast, crossing through 13 states. In the U.S., totality will end in Maine, but the eclipse will eventually enter the maritime provinces of Canada.

MORE: Total solar eclipse April 8, 2024: Path, time and the best places to view

On April 8, 2024, parts of the contiguous United States will be plunged from daylight into twilight when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth and, for a short time, completely obscures the sun.

PHOTO: The moon transits the sun during the 2017 total solar eclipse as seen from Weiser, Idaho.

The moon transits the sun during the 2017 total solar eclipse as seen from Weiser, Idaho.
Kyle Green/Getty Images

The track of the moon’s shadow across Earth’s surface is called the path of totality. In the U.S., the path will begin over San Antonio, Texas and will travel through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, passing just north of Bangor. Small parts of Tennessee and Michigan will also experience the total solar eclipse, according to NASA.

If you’re not in the path of totality, you’ll still be able to see a partial solar eclipse in the U.S. But if you want to witness the total solar eclipse on April 8, you’ll need to be within that 115-mile-wide path.

PHOTO: People gather to observe the total solar eclipse with solar eclipse glasses at the Times Square in New York City, Aug. 21, 2017.

People gather to observe the total solar eclipse with solar eclipse glasses at the Times Square in New Y…
Volkan Furuncu/Getty Images

Ancient recordings of eclipses

Turning back the pages of total solar eclipse history, the celestial spectacles have elicited varied interpretations and reactions over time and across the world.

Humanity’s first record of an eclipse is believed to have been made on Nov. 30, 3340 B.C.E, at Loughcrew Megalithic Monument in County Meath, Ireland, according to NASA, which cites the 2002 findings from Paul Griffin, an “archaeoastronomer” from Ireland.

A series of overlapping circular rock carvings, called petroglyphs, appear to depict the moon partially obstructing the sun, which Griffin calculated would have coincided with an eclipse from that time.

Immediately in front of the carvings, previous archaeologists discovered the charred human remains of nearly 50 individuals, which Griffin hypothesizes could have been the result of a Neolithic-era human sacrifice ritual perhaps tied to the eclipse.

A third of the way around the world from Ireland, in Anyang, China, what are also believed to be eclipse records were discovered carved into tortoiseshell fragments, called “oracle bones,” in approximately 1200 B.C.E. and were later studied by astronomers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.The cryptic etchings declared “The Sun has been eaten,” according to NASA. Researchers also found records of eclipses in the area dating from 1226 B.C.E., 1198 B.C.E., 1172 B.C.E., 1163 B.C.E., and 1161 B.C.E

In Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, a few hours northeast of Albuquerque, a petroglyph discovered in 1992 appears to depict a solar eclipse from July 11, 1097, NASA reports. The rock carving from the ancestral Pueblo people “has a swirling loop jetting off the side – perhaps representing a coronal mass ejection from the sun,” according to the agency.

Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are expulsions of plasma, threaded by magnetic field lines, that are ejected from the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, according to NASA. CMEs look like twisted rope, dubbed “flux rope” by scientists.

 Solar eclipse mythology

Throughout history, eclipses have been interpreted by many cultures as a disruption of the natural order, and in some cases a “bad omen,” according to Britannica.

In ancient China, the etchings discovered in Anyang depicted solar eclipses as celestial dragons attacking and devouring the sun.

“To frighten away the dragon and save the sun, people would bang drums and make loud noises during an eclipse,” according to Britannica.

In South America, the ancient Incan people believed solar eclipses were a “sign of wrath and displeasure” from Inti, the “all-powerful sun god,” Britannica further says.

“Following an eclipse, spiritual leaders would attempt to divine the source of his anger and determine which sacrifices should be offered,” Britannica notes, adding that fasting and even instances of human sacrifice were common during a solar eclipse.

Choctaw Native Americans, the third-largest Native American nation – originally based in what is now Alabama and Mississippi – created lore similar to that of ancient Chinese people to explain solar eclipses.

“According to Choctaw legend, a mischievous black squirrel gnawing on the sun is the cause of eclipses,” according to Britannica. “Like the Chinese dragon, the squirrel must be frightened away by the clamor and yells of the event’s human witnesses.”

In West Africa, the Tammari people, also known as Batammariba, from the northern regions of Togo and Benin, believed the celestial bodies intersecting during an eclipse represented human feuds on Earth.

“According to their legend, human anger and fighting spread to the sun and the moon, who began to fight with each other and caused an eclipse,” Britannica notes.

Advances in science

It’s generally believed that the influential Indian mathematician and astronomer Aryabhatta is the first person who recorded observations regarding the true cause of eclipses. Born in the late fifth century, his only surviving work, “Aryabhatiya,” believed to have been written in the early sixth century, includes mathematics to predict solar and lunar eclipses.

More recently, a solar eclipse helped prove one of the most important scientific theories in history.

Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, published in 1915, declared in part that space and time together behave like a fabric, and that the mass of a celestial body can warp that fabric and, in turn, alter the path of light itself along that curvature. However, it wasn’t until three years later that Einstein’s theory was validated by a solar eclipse.

Sir Arthur Eddington led an expedition to the island of Principe, off the West Africa coast, to observe the May 29, 1919 solar eclipse. With the moon obscuring the sun’s glare, scientists were able to see that certain stars adjacent to the sun appeared to be in the wrong position, a result of their light being warped by the sun’s gravity before it reached Earth – just as Einstein had predicted.

PHOTO: German-born physicist Albert Einstein, circa 1939.

German-born physicist Albert Einstein, circa 1939.
Mpi/Getty Images

Nearly 100 years later, in 2017, a total solar eclipse swept across the contiguous U.S. for the first time in 38 years, from Oregon to South Carolina. That event allowed scientists, aided by collection of 11 spacecraft from NASA and partner organizations, to provide observations of the sun, moon and Earth that likewise were only available during the eclipse.

“This eclipse gave us an opportunity to cement the idea of the sun-Earth connection,” Dr. Lika Guhathakurta, who headed NASA’s science efforts for the Aug. 21 eclipse, said at the time. “A variety of new observations, instruments and observational platforms were enabled by this eclipse. It will be fascinating to watch how these develop into new research plans and new technology for future use.”

PHOTO: Pupils at Stephen Knight School view the solar eclipse in Dencer, CO, Feb. 26, 1979.

Pupils at Stephen Knight School view the solar eclipse in Dencer, CO, Feb. 26, 1979.
Denver Post via Getty Images

Fast-forward to this month, when NASA is preparing for a mission during the April 8 total solar eclipse to study how the sudden decrease in sunlight affects our upper atmosphere, according to the agency.

The Atmospheric Perturbations around Eclipse Path (APEP) mission will launch three suborbital “sounding” rockets in succession – one approximately 35 minutes before the peak of the eclipse, one during the eclipse peak, and one 35 minutes after the peak

“Each rocket will deploy four small scientific instruments that will measure changes in electric and magnetic fields, density, and temperature,” according to NASA.

Additionally, in Missouri, a team of students from Virginia Tech will launch “high altitude scientific weather balloons” along the total solar eclipse path as part of the National Eclipse Ballooning Project for NASA.

The balloons will fly at an altitude of approximately 75,000 feet and will capture imagery of the eclipse at totality “from a completely different perspective from those viewing on the ground,” according to the project’s press release

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