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Historic Solar Eclipse Crossing Parts of United States, Mexico, and Canada

The Baily’s Beads effect is seen as the Moon makes its final move over the Sun during the last total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, above Madras, Oregon. Image courtesy of NASA.

By Elena Chiaruttini 

According to astronomers, about 32 million people in North America are living in the path of an extraordinary solar eclipse, which is set to become the most-watched solar eclipse ever.

On Apr. 8, the eclipse will start from Mexico’s South Pacific coast at 11:07 PT, crossing through several American states starting with Texas at at 2:07 p.m. ET, with the path later crossing parts of Canada and culminating in the Maritime Atlantic.

While California won’t be within the states directly affected, many people in the United States are expected to travel to witness the event.

This map shows the path of totality and partial contours crossing the U.S. for the 2024 total solar eclipse occurring on April 8, 2024. Image courtesy of NASA

During a total solar eclipse, the moon moves in front of the sun, blocking sunlight and creating a unique effect. The last time this happened in America was during the Great American Eclipse of 2017, allowing 12 million locals, plus the millions who traveled for it, to witness the sun going dark for 2 minutes and 4 seconds. This upcoming eclipse is expected to be even longer, lasting 4 minutes and 28 seconds.

To truly experience the eclipse, it’s important to be in the right place at the right time. Only those within a narrow band where the moon’s shadow falls will witness the sun completely disappearing. Others will see a partial eclipse, which is still incredible but not as amazing as the total eclipse.

Being equipped with eye protection during a solar eclipse is extremely important. Regular sunglasses won’t provide enough protection and eye injuries are more common and easier to get than most people realize.

Experts recommend special glasses made for viewing eclipses, or welders’ filter shades rated 12, 13, or 14.

Witnessing an eclipse of this magnitude is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The next total solar eclipse in America won’t happen until 2045.

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