Total solar eclipse: 8 April 2024

Get ready: on 8 April 2024, a total solar eclipse will sweep across Mexico, the US and Canada – completely blocking out the Sun from the sky. And this solar eclipse is extraordinarily special, for more than one reason.

Rather excitingly, this eclipse will occur when the Sun is near its peak in activity as part of its 11-year cycle. Contrast this to the last Great American Eclipse in 2017, when the Sun was at the minimum, and we can expect to see more structure (spikes and outflows) on the Sun’s edge as it peaks around the edges of the Moon.

Second, the Everest-sized ‘Devil Comet’ will be close to the Sun at this time, meaning that during the eclipse we’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the comet alongside the eclipse.

When is the total solar eclipse?

The solar eclipse will take place on Monday 8 April 2024. It’s a total solar eclipse, which means that the Sun will be completely blocked out by the Moon in areas. During the eclipse, the sky will become dark for a small period of time – up to around four minutes.

This is in contrast to the recent annular solar eclipse on 14 October 2024, where the ‘ring of fire’ was visible around the edge of the Moon.

What time is the total solar eclipse?

The total solar eclipse will begin in Mexico, and then travel across the US and Atlantic Canada. So, if you’re along the path of totality (where the Moon’s shadow completely covers the Sun), the time you’ll see the eclipse will vary depending on where you are.

Local time, this will be anywhere between 6:39am in the South Pacific Ocean to 6:53pm in the Atlantic Ocean at sunset.  

  • First location to see the total solar eclipse begin: South Pacific Ocean at sunrise, 6:39am local time (CKT)
  • Last location to see the total solar eclipse: Atlantic Ocean at sunset, 6:53pm UTC-1

From start to finish, the total solar eclipse on 8 April 2024 will last for around two and a half hours, but totality itself will only last for around four minutes – depending on location.


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What time is the total solar eclipse in my state?

Using a central location and/or major cities for each US state where totality will be observed, here are the times that you’ll be able to see the total solar eclipse in your state.

In each of these locations, you’ll be able to see a partial solar eclipse for around an hour before and after totality:

Mexico

  • Mazatlán: 11:07am – 11:11am MST
  • Durango: 12:12pm – 12:16pm CST
  • Torreón: 12:16pm – 12:21pm CST
  • Monclova: 12:23pm – 12:26pm CST
  • Sabinas: 12:25pm – 12:29pm CST

United States

  • Austin, Texas: 1:36pm – 1:37pm CDT
  • Dallas, Texas: 1:40pm – 1:44pm CDT
  • Broken Bow, Oklahoma: 1:45pm – 1:50pm CDT
  • Texarkana, Arkansas: 1:46pm – 1:49pm CDT
  • Hot Springs, Arkansas: 1:49pm – 1:53pm CDT
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: 1:51pm – 1:54 pm CDT
  • Jonesboro, Arkansas: 1:55pm – 1:57pm CDT
  • Poplar Bluff, Missouri: 1:56pm – 2pm CDT
  • Jackson, Missouri: 1:58pm – 2:02pm CDT
  • Paducah, Kentucky: 2pm – 2:02pm CDT
  • Carbondale, Illinois: 1:59pm – 2:03pm CDT
  • Benton, Illinois: 2pm – 2:04pm CDT
  • Mount Carmel, Illinois: 2:02pm – 2:06pm CDT
  • Bloomington, Indiana: 3:04pm – 3:08pm EDT
  • Indianapolis, Indiana: 3:06pm – 3:09pm EDT
  • Dayton, Ohio: 3:09pm – 3:12pm EDT
  • Cleveland, Ohio: 3: 13pm – 3:17pm EDT
  • Erie, Pennsylvania: 3:16pm – 3:20pm EDT
  • Buffalo, New York: 3:18pm – 3:22pm EDT
  • Rochester, New York: 3:20 – 3:23pm EDT
  • Montpelier, Vermont: 3:27pm – 3:29pm EDT
  • Nash Stream Forest, New Hampshire: 3:28pm – 3:31pm EDT
  • Baxter State Park, Maine: 3:30pm – 3:34pm EDT
  • Caribou, Maine: 3:32pm – 3:34pm EDT

Canada

  • St Thomas, Ontario: 3:16pm – 3:17pm EDT
  • Niagara Falls, Ontario: 3:18pm – 3:21pm EDT
  • Kingston, Ontario: 3:22pm – 3:25pm EDT
  • Montreal, Quebec: 3:26pm – 3:28pm EDT
  • Sherbrooke, Quebec: 3:27pm – 3:31pm EDT
  • Fredericton, New Brunswick: 4:33pm – 4:34pm ADT
  • Miramichi, New Brunswick: 4:34pm – 4:37pm ADT
  • Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador: 5:13pm – 5:16pm NDT

View the interactive solar eclipse map to determine the exact timings for the solar eclipse where you are.

Where will the total solar eclipse be visible?

The total solar eclipse on 8 April 2024 will be visible across Mexico, the US and eastern Canada.

“The dark centre of the Moon’s shadow is only 200km (125 miles) wide during a total solar eclipse, and so to see it, you need to be within that narrow spot,” explains Dr Darren Baskill, astronomer at the University of Sussex.

“Fortunately, the Earth rotates beneath that alignment, dragging that spot from the west to the east. And the Moon is also travelling from south of the solar system up to the north, causing the spot to also travel northwards.”

The map above marks the path of totality during 2024’s total solar eclipse. – Photo credit: Getty

All of the US (except Alaska), the majority of Canada and all of Mexico will experience a partial eclipse on this date, but the path of totality will only be visible from a few of the southern, central and eastern states, plus Mexico. Those who are on the path of totality will also experience a partial solar eclipse.

The path of totality will begin over the Pacific Ocean, travel over Mexico, then into Texas directly over Dallas, clip the edge of Oklahoma and into Arkansas.

After that, it will move into Missouri, clip the northwest of Kentucky, into Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, New York state, and pass directly over Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

Then it will pass over Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, over the Gulf of St Lawrence, Newfoundland and Labrador, before ending in the Atlantic Ocean.

Who will get the best view of the solar eclipse?

You’ll get the best view – and the longest duration of totality – the closer you are to the centre of the path of totality.

“On 8 April 2024, the most dramatic views of this total solar eclipse will be from a south-west to north-east path that passes through northern Mexico, the USA and eastern Canada,” says Baskill.

“Here, the Moon will completely hide the Sun from view for up to 4 minutes and 28 seconds, giving us a stunning view of the Sun’s outer atmosphere.”

Although the path of totality will travel thousands of miles across the United States, the path itself is actually quite narrow. On average, the path of totality will measure 183 kilometres (115 miles) wide. So, you’ll need to be in the right location if you want to see totality.

“In all, the dark heart of the Moon’s shadow will take over 90 minutes to travel from Texas up to northern New York and Maine,” Baskill says.

Viewers watching near the Mexican town of Nazas, Durango will see the longest duration of totality, lasting 4 minutes, 28 seconds. In the US, Dallas, Texas will experience a very nice 3 minutes and 49 seconds of totality.

Conditions on the day will depend on the weather

If you’re wondering whether to travel, it’s a good idea to check the typical cloud cover along the route of the Moon’s shadow. “Overall, the best weather is to the southwest of the US, with increasing chance of cloud further to the northeast,” says Baskill.

“Mexico has the best chance of seeing the eclipse, with a 75 per cent chance of having clear skies, while Texas and neighbouring US states have a 50:50 chance of clear skies.”

“By the time the eclipse reaches New York state, there is only a 25 per cent chance of having clear skies, although the microclimates around Lake Erie and Lake Ontario may help a little!”

“East of Montreal the chance of clear skies plummets to less than 20 per cent,” he says.

The best scenic spots to view the eclipse

The solar eclipse will pass over 27 national park sites, including  Amistad National Recreation Area (Texas), Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park (Rhode Island and Massachusetts), Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio) and the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park (Indiana).

Find out about planned activities nearest you from the National Parks Conservation Association.

Here are just a few of our favourite locations where totality will be observed:

  • Reunion Tower, Dallas, Texas:1:40pm – 1:44pm CDT
  • Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas: 1:49pm – 1:53pm CDT
  • The future birthplace of Captain Janeway (308 W 4th St), Bloomington, Indiana: 3:04pm – 3:08pm EDT
  • NASA Glenn Research Center, New York: 3:13pm – 3:17pm EDT
  • Niagara Falls, New York/Toronto: 3:18pm – 3:21pm EDT
  • Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester, New York: 3:20pm – 3:23pm EDT

Can you see the solar eclipse from the UK?

Viewers in Ireland will experience a partial eclipse; with around 40 per cent of the Sun obscured around Clew Bay in the northwest, reducing to around 15 per cent in Dublin and the east.

In the far northwest of Wales, viewers will barely make out a 4 per cent obscuration. The majority of Wales will only experience around 1 per cent. The Isle of Man will see a partial eclipse of just under 8 per cent, but viewers up on the Isle of Skye will see around 22 per cent.

Sorry England, the partial eclipse won’t be visible. “Unfortunately, the Earth doesn’t quite rotate fast enough for the total solar eclipse to be visible from the UK. The Moon will move away from the Sun as the eclipse path crosses the Atlantic Ocean,” Baskill explains.

“Although Ireland, Northern Ireland and north-western Scotland will see the Moon hiding up to 50 per cent of the Sun as the pair set together in the west.”

Can you see the comet and the eclipse at the same time?

During totality, comet 12P/Pons-Brooks – aka the Devil Comet – may be visible to the naked eye at the same time as the solar eclipse. It has been steadily getting brighter over the last few weeks, and is currently on the cusp of naked-eye visibility.

As the comet approaches the Sun, it’s likely to get brighter still. This is thanks to the release of gas which creates a coma – but this comet has another trick up its sleeve. It’s prone to random, violent outbursts of gas, so we could see it brighten further if it decides to spit out a cocktail of ice, dust and gas at any point.

During the solar eclipse, the Devil Comet will be around 25 degrees away from the Sun.

If you stretch out your arm in front of you, 25 degrees is approximately the distance between your little finger (pinky) and your thumb when stretched apart.

How to safely view the total solar eclipse on 8 April

1. Livestream the eclipse

If you’re not in the path of totality, you can livestream the event on NASA’s YouTube channel, from 1pm to 4 pm EDT (5pm to 8pm UTC) on 8 April 2024.

2. Use a pair of eclipse glasses

If you’re able to prepare beforehand, one of the best ways to safely watch the eclipse is by wearing a pair of eclipse-certified glasses. These are usually made of cardboard, but they’re not the same as regular sunglasses as they require special filters to protect your eyes.

Eclipse glasses are thousands of times darker than regular sunglasses, and comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard. 

3. Make a pinhole camera

These are fun to make, and it’s a great method to indirectly, and safely view the solar eclipse.

You will need:

  • Two pieces of white card
  • Something to poke a hole with (thumbtack, paper clip, compass point etc)
  • Small square of kitchen foil
  • Sticky tape

Step 1

Cut a square in the middle of one of the pieces of card.

Step 2

Tape the foil over the square – essentially sealing it back up again.

Step 3

Using the thumbtack, poke a small hole in the foil. You can also use a hole punch if you have one.

Step 4

Put the second piece of white card on the ground, then stand with the Sun behind you and hold the first piece up. A small image of the Sun will be projected through the hole and onto the piece on the ground.

4. Use a colander

A kitchen colander is a great way to view the eclipse. It’s essentially a ready-made pinhole camera, but instead of one Sun being projected, you’ll have as many Suns as there are holes.

When is the next solar eclipse?

After the solar eclipse on 8 April 2024, the next solar eclipse will be an annular eclipse visible to Easter Island and Chile on 2 October 2024.

For viewers in the UK, the next solar eclipse will be a partial eclipse in March 2025. 

However, it’s only Gen Alpha – and perhaps a few Gen Z – who will see the next total solar eclipse in the UK, as we have to wait until September 2090.

Here is a list of all upcoming solar eclipses worldwide:

  • 8 April 2024: Total solar eclipse, Mexico, US & Canada
  • 2 October 2024: Annular solar eclipse, Easter Island & Chile
  • 29 March 2025: Partial solar eclipse, UK & Europe
  • 21 September 2025: Partial solar eclipse, New Zealand
  • 17 February 2026: Annular solar eclipse, Antarctica
  • 12 August 2026: Total solar eclipse, Iceland and Spain
  • 6 February 2027: Annular solar eclipse, South America, Africa
  • 2 August 2027: Total solar eclipse, Europe, Africa, Asia

When is the next total solar eclipse?

For those of you just interested in total solar eclipses, here is a list of all upcoming total solar eclipses:

  • 8 April 2024: Mexico, US & Canada
  • 12 August 2026: Iceland & Spain
  • 2 August 2027: Europe, Africa & Asia
  • 22 July 2028: Indonesia, Australia & New Zealand
  • 25 November 2030: Africa, South Africa & Australia

The next total solar eclipse visible from the Contiguous United States will be in 2044. However, it will only be visible in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

What causes a total solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun. It blocks out the Sun and casts a shadow onto the Earth. This phenomenon is a rare treat, and happens because of the alignment of the Sun, Moon, and Earth.

“Even though the Moon orbits the Earth every month – which is the origin of the word, literally ‘month’ – eclipses don’t happen every month. This is because the Moon’s orbit about the Earth is tilted. The Moon usually passes above or below the Sun,” Baskill says.

“However, twice a year there is the chance of a solar eclipse. This is when the Moon is neither above nor below the Sun, but instead the Moon passes across the face of the Sun.”

“When the Earth, Sun and Moon do all line up, there is usually time for both a solar eclipse and for the Moon to travel halfway around the sky into the shadow of the Earth. This causes both a solar and lunar eclipse to occur within two weeks of each other,” he explains.

So as the Moon passes in front of the Sun, we see its shadow falling on the Earth. If you’re in the line of the path of this shadow, the sky will temporarily darken. If you’re outside in the moments before totality, you’ll notice an increase in chirping and chattering from the birds and insects. Then, when totality hits, everything will fall eerily silent.

What phase is the Moon in during a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse, whether partial, total, or annular, can only happen during the new Moon phase of the lunar cycle. This is because the Moon needs to be situated between the Earth and the Sun in order to block out the Sun. And, during the new Moon phase, this is where the Moon is conveniently positioned.

It’s the opposite side of the Earth to when there is a full Moon, which is when the Moon is fully illuminated by the Sun.

A diagram depicting how a solar eclipse is caused by the Moon blocking out the Sun
A solar eclipse is caused when the Moon moves in front of the Sun and blocks out the light, casting a shadow on Earth – Image credit: Getty images

But not every new Moon results in a solar eclipse, which is why we don’t get one every month. This is because the Moon is orbiting the Earth on a plane. And, that plane is tilted by around 5 degrees with respect to Earth’s orbit around the Sun. This small difference is usually enough so that the new Moon can pass above or below the Sun, without blocking out the Sun. In other words, no eclipse.

How long can you look at a solar eclipse before going blind?

It is never safe to look directly at the Sun. Even a glance at the solar eclipse can damage the retinas in your eyes. Solar retinopathy is essentially an injury to the macular tissue in your eyes, and it’s common in people who have looked at the Sun, either during an eclipse or otherwise.

In mild cases of solar retinopathy, you might experience headaches, eye soreness, photosensitivity and watery eyes. For more serious cases, you might experience blurry and/or distorted vision, decreased colour vision, difficulty discerning shapes and dim vision. You’re also likely to experience blind spots in your central vision that you can’t see around. In these cases, your symptoms will gradually decrease, and your vision should get better over the following weeks, perhaps months.

However – with multiple instances of solar retinopathy or in extreme cases, you risk permanently damaging your eyes. The destructive effects of UV radiation are cumulative, so, if you’ve previously looked at an eclipse with no permanent side-effects, please don’t do it again!

If you think you might have solar retinopathy, see your eye doctor or GP as soon as possible so that a healthcare professional can examine your eyes for damage.


About our expert

Dr Darren Baskill is an outreach officer and lecturer in the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Sussex. He previously lectured at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, where he also initiated the annual Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

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