About the Total Solar Eclipse

The total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for many Americans. Total solar eclipses are extremely rare and often occur in inaccessible regions of the world. During the eclipse, the moon will completely cover the sun, casting a shadow on the surface of the Earth. The path of this shadow is known as the "path of totality."

Viewing the eclipse from the path of totality is a visceral and surreal experience. The moon blocking the sun will appear as a "hole in the sky," while your surroundings on Earth will appear similar to nighttime. The next total solar eclipse over the East Coast or Midwest will not happen again until 2078.

Since looking at the sun can cause eye damage, you will need authentic eclipse glasses to safely view the eclipse.

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First Stage

First Contact and Partial Eclipse

As the moon begins to cross paths with the sun, visible light will become less intense and the temperature around you will begin to drop. The sun will form a crescent shape around the moon, and shadows on the ground will change shape. Stars and planets in the sky will become visible as the moon blocks more and more sunlight.

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Second Stage

Diamond Ring and Bailey's Beads #1

Once only a tiny fraction of sun remains, a "diamond ring" will form. A strong bright light will emanate from one corner of the sun while a white glow will encircle the rest of the moon. Your surroundings on Earth will become dark and may even appear purple. As the "diamond" fades, tiny beads of sunlight will pierce through the valleys and craters on the edge of the moon's surface.

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Third Stage


Totality is the most extreme stage of the total solar eclipse, as the sun is completely blocked by the moon. The sun's corona will be visible to the naked eye and will blast out around the moon, forming a distinct glimmer. Your surroundings will be colder and almost completely dark, similar to nighttime. Photos may look extreme, but they cannot compare to the visceral and surreal experience that comes with seeing it in person.

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Fourth Stage

Diamond Ring and Bailey's Beads #2

As the moon begins to move away from the sun, Bailey's Beads will return for the last time. As the Beads fade away, the diamond ring will reemerge. Your surroundings will start to become brighter as you are now past the "halfway point" of the eclipse.

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Fifth Stage

Partial Eclipse and Fourth Contact

As the diamond ring disappears from view, more sunlight will return and the moon will only block part of the sun. Shadows will return to normal and temperatures will increase. As the moon moves completely away from the sun, the solar eclipse will end.