April's Total Solar Eclipse: What to Expect
The highly anticipated April 2024 total solar eclipse is set to captivate scientists, eclipse chasers, and festival-goers alike.
What makes the April 2024 solar eclipse so unique?
On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will occur, starting in Mexico and crossing the US before exiting North America on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland. This eclipse is anticipated to be different from past total solar eclipses because of the sun's heightened activity, making the sun's corona more visible. It will also last nearly two minutes longer than the 2017 eclipse, making it a special event.
According to Polly White, eclipse chaser and co-founder of the Great American Eclipse, this eclipse is generating more excitement due to increased awareness from previous eclipses and the possibility of comet visibility during totality. The path of totality is also longer, allowing more people to view the eclipse.
Nearly 31.6 million people live within the 200-mile path of totality, and 99% of people in the United States will be able to witness a partial or total eclipse. This event is expected to be the most viewed total solar eclipse ever.
A Travel Surge and Festival-Goers
The upcoming total solar eclipse has led to a surge in travel, with experts estimating that one in four Americans will take a trip to be within the path of totality on April 8. Travel agents are helping travelers find the best accommodations for optimal eclipse viewing.
There are also various festivals planned during the week of the eclipse, such as the Texas Eclipse Festival in Burnet, Texas, featuring music, art, and space experiences. Other festivals include Shadowfest in Bloomington, Indiana, and the 2024 Total Eclipse Festival in Jesieville, Arkansas.
Ari Eisenstat, an international futurist, highlights the importance of these festivals in reminding people of their place in the universe. The Texas Eclipse Festival, for example, will have curated space experiences and feature speakers from NASA, Blue Origin, and SpaceX.
Eclipse-Viewing Safety Measures
With the large number of viewers expected, eclipse chaser Polly White advises wearing ISO-certified eclipse glasses, except during the period of totality. However, she warns of counterfeit glasses being sold, urging people to consult the American Astronomical Society for a list of safe suppliers.
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