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Total Solar Eclipse USA! – April 8, 2024

The daytime sky darkens, temperatures drop, and most animals become quiet. Almost instantly, daylight is transformed into deep twilight, as Venus and the brighter stars appear. Incredibly, where the Sun stood, sits a black disk surrounded by a pearly white halo with delicate, spikey streamers extending outward in all directions. You’re experiencing a total solar eclipse, which astronomer Isabel Martin Lewis called “the most sublime and awe-inspiring sight that nature affords.”

On Monday, April 8, 2024, we’ll be able to see a total solar eclipse from parts of Mexico, the U. S., and Canada. Another such eclipse won’t be visible from the 48 contiguous States for 20 years. On the morning of April 8, the Moon’s dark, umbral shadow will cross the Pacific coast of Mexico. During the next several hours, that shadow will speed northeastward across parts of Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, several midwestern states, Pennsylvania, New York, parts of New England and southeastern Canada. The path of this total eclipse is narrow, nowhere wider than 125 miles. But the entire contiguous U. S. will experience at least a partial eclipse. From west-central Colorado, about 69% of the Sun’s diameter will be covered by the Moon, with maximum eclipse occurring around 12:34 PM MDT. So, isn’t 69% good enough? Veteran eclipse chasers say: No! – definitely not! If you see only a partial eclipse, you’ll have missed the most amazing sight, the beautiful solar corona, which Albert J. Myer, co-founder of the National Weather Service, called “a vision magnificent beyond description.” The corona is the Sun’s atmosphere, where charged particles are propelled into space at speeds over one million miles per hour. From Earth’s surface, the corona’s beauty is easily visible only during the fleeting minutes when an eclipse is total.

Never observe the partial phases of a solar eclipse directly without proper eye protection, as severe eye damage can result. Safe solar filters or image projection must be used to observe the partial phases. Partial phases will make up more than 96% of the eclipse’s duration, even if you travel to where the eclipse is total. If you are staying locally on April 8, join Bryan Cashion, President of the Black Canyon Astronomical Society, at Centennial Plaza in Montrose to view the partial eclipse with “eclipse glasses” and safe, computerized solar telescopes. Bryan will also have a link to NASA sites that are livestreaming the total eclipse. Here’s wishing you awesome eclipse viewing under clear skies!

You’ve been listening to “Western Slope Skies”, produced by the Black Canyon Astronomical Society and KVNF Community Radio. I’m Art Trevena.

Web links on the April 8, 2024 solar eclipse:    







An eclipse animation with times for Montrose, Colorado…