Friday, May 24 2024

Total solar eclipse on April 8: What it means and where it will be visible

Solar Total Eclipse
On Monday, April 8, the sky will darken and look like dawn or dusk is coming. The phenomenon of a total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, completely blocking the view of the Sun. Learn all you need to know about the rare phenomenon that will be fully visible in many US States, including New York.

HDN Newsroom

This year, it will occur on April 8 and is characterized as the most important astronomical event of 2024.

The total solar eclipse will be visible across North America, passing over Mexico, the United States and Canada.

Viewing this phenomenon needs great attention and everyone should wear special sunglasses. The total solar eclipse features multiple unique stages as the eclipse progresses, according to NASA.

The stages of the total solar eclipse

Partial eclipse: As the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, at first it does not completely cover the Sun. The Sun appears to be crescent-shaped.

Shadow zones: Shadow zones move fast, long, dark bands separated by white gaps seen on the sides of buildings or on the ground just before and after the ensemble, although they can be very faint and difficult to photograph.

Baily's Beads: As the Moon continues to move along the Sun, many points of light shine around the edges of the Moon. Known as Baily's Beads, these are rays of light from the Sun that cross valleys along the Moon's horizon

Diamond Ring: Bailey's Beads will begin to disappear until eventually only a bright spot will remain along the edge of the Moon's shadow. This bright spot resembles the diamond in a giant diamond ring formed by the rest of the Sun's atmosphere.

Totality: Totality is when the Moon completely blocks the bright aspect of the Sun. This is the only stage of the eclipse that you can see with the naked eye. This stage can also reveal the chromosphere (a region of the solar atmosphere, appearing as the thin circle of pink around the Moon) and the corona (the outer solar atmosphere, displayed as streams of white light).

The total solar eclipse will only be fully visible in North America as a corridor from Mexico to the U.S. and Canada will be created.

The maximum duration of the eclipse will be almost 4.30 minutes in Mexico and the maximum width of the path of totality will be 198 kilometers.

The eclipse will begin in the Pacific, pass through Mexico and then cross Texas on a northeast course through 15 states, before heading over Canada and the North Atlantic.

The last time the total eclipse crossed the U.S. was in 2019. But it is the first eclipse visible in Canada since 1979 and the first for Mexico since 1991.

"A total solar eclipse happens, usually about twice a year somewhere in the world. It is a consequence of the fact that the moon is in orbit around our planet, Earth. Thus, usually twice a year the moon comes directly between the sun and the Earth, excluding some or all of its light. And on April 8, what some very lucky people will be able to see in different parts of the world is a total solar eclipse," explains Jake Foster, astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

In Europe, the eclipse will be partially visible at sunset in parts of Iceland, Ireland, Britain, Spain and Portugal.

The total solar eclipse will be visible on the Pacific coast of Mexico on the morning of April 8 (US local time), it will "cross" the US from Texas to Maine, and be best seen on Canada's east coast in the afternoon. Most of the rest of North America will see a partial eclipse, scientists estimate. In New York and the northeast of the country, the sun will be fully covered shortly before 15.30 local time (22.30 Greek time).