The 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Map

You should “totally” see the solar eclipse on April 8th


There will be a solar eclipse Monday April 8th, 2024 that will be visible across the United States as well as Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada. For most of the people reading this, it will be your best opportunity to see a partial eclipse until 2045 and if you’re willing to travel it will be your best opportunity to see a total eclipse anywhere in the United States until 2033. 


From the Lehigh Valley, the eclipse will begin at 2:08 pm as the moon just begins to cover the disk of the sun. From there the moon will progressively cover more and more of the sun until it reaches a maximum of 92% coverage at 3:24 pm. Then the moon will slide away and fully reveal the sun at 4:36 pm ending the eclipse. 

In eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey this will be a partial eclipse meaning the moon will not completely cover the sun at any point. This means you will need eclipse viewing equipment to safely observe the sun. These can be official eclipse viewing glasses which will be available at some stores and online, or projection style viewers which you can make yourself as a fun DIY project. For instructions on how to make a pinhole projection viewer, see our latest science at home video. Remember to not look at the partial phases of an eclipse without special eclipse viewing equipment or eclipse glasses!

During the eclipse, the sun will take on a crescent shape. The sky will grow darker and the temperature will decrease. As the eclipse approaches 92% coverage you might even notice some nocturnal animals becoming more active, though this is more likely during a total eclipse and the threshold is not well known. If you stay in the Lehigh valley you will not see a total eclipse and that means you will be missing out on some really spectacular and rare natural phenomena. 


To see this eclipse as a total eclipse you must travel to a location along the path of totality seen in the map. The path of totality is narrow, usually only about 100 miles across, and long, sometimes thousands of miles from end to end. Be aware that millions of Americans will be traveling to the path of totality so traffic will be affected, sometimes severely. Some stores will be short on basic supplies and some emergency services may be overburdened so travel carefully and pack accordingly.  

The best places to travel to are ones that are likely to have clear skies the day of the eclipse. As I write this it is still 16 days till the eclipse so it’s not possible to provide an accurate weather forecast. Early April is typically a cloudy time of year in the north east parts of the path. Statistically speaking the farther south you are on the path of this eclipse the better your odds of clear skies so traveling to southern Texas or even Mexico is the best course. Across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New England there is a 60% chance of cloudy skies. There is one place that has about 50/50 odds of clear skies that isn’t too far from home and that’s Erie Pennsylvania. The cold water of the lake actually suppresses cloud formation in April and creates a microclimate near its shores that is slightly more likely to have clear skies. Since it is on the path of totality that is where I will be on April 8th. This will be my second total eclipse having already traveled to the path of totality for the 2017 eclipse. 

If you find yourself on the path of totality and you are lucky enough to have clear skies during the total phase of the eclipse you will be able to take off your glasses and look directly at the eclipse. For just over 3 minutes the moon will block the disk of the sun. It will be cool and dark. The beautiful and mysterious corona or outer atmosphere of the sun will be visible all around the moon. The corona will be pushed into faint gray whisps and filaments and for me they are the highlight of an eclipse. This is only visible on Earth during a total eclipse. No other planet has a moon of the right size to produce this effect. 

I can tell you what an eclipse looks like and you can watch videos to see that as well but no one can fully explain what an eclipse feels like. If you have seen one you know what I mean. It is simply ineffable; but it can best be described as a feeling of connection to the cosmos. Our solar system exists on a scale that is beyond human understanding. We can measure it, even traverse it with robotic spacecraft, but we can’t comprehend it. During the brief minutes of a total eclipse I think I come closer to understanding it, and I am humbled by it. The predominant emotion is exhilaration because I am sharing in it with the people around me, with the people seeing it thousands of miles away, and indirectly with the rest of the people on our planet which briefly, ever so fleetingly, is not a planet but a little blue marble that just happens to have the best view in the solar system. 

Link to a simulation of the eclipse from Easton

Link to an interactive map of the eclipse


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