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5 things you need to know about this year's total solar eclipse

North America is gearing up to witness a total solar eclipse. This rare solar event will be visible across Mexico, the United States and Canada.

5 things you need to know about this year's total solar eclipse
Representative Cover Image Source: The moon descends over the sun's horizon during an annular solar eclipse on October 14, 2023 in Kerrville, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The solar eclipse on April 8 is a rare event that will be witnessed again only in 2044, as per My Modern Met. Some states in the US will get to witness totality—an event where the moon totally blocks the sun's path, casting a temporary shadow on a certain region of the Earth. Even though the sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, the complete blocking happens because it's also 400 times farther away. All the states will at least witness a partial solar eclipse. As it is a rare natural phenomenon, people want to make the best of the event while also avoiding hassles like traffic due to the increased number of tourists in certain places. Witnessing totality can be a memorable and even a life-changing experience, as claimed by a lot of eclipse chasers. Hence, it can be a good idea for one to prepare themselves fully for the event.


1. The path of the eclipse

The eclipse will be visible all through North America but only a strip 4000 miles long and 115 miles wide will witness a total solar eclipse. The eclipse will start from the South Pacific Ocean, crossing Mexico’s Pacific coast, Mazatlán, before reaching the border in Texas and continuing its way to the northeast—Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. A few parts of Tenessee, Michigan, Indianapolis and Cleveland will also be able to view a total solar eclipse. It will continue to cross through Canadian states before ending at sunset in the Atlantic Ocean.

2. How to avoid traffic

In case one is not in the path of totality, one can still see the partially covered Sun and crescent shadows but it will not go completely dark like it does during totality. It is recommended that people should avoid traveling to see the total solar eclipse as it would aggravate the traffic problem. As per the outlet, the 2017 total solar eclipse caused record-breaking traffic jams. Even hotel bookings and flight tickets have become quite expensive due to the upcoming event. Last-minute plans might not be the nicest idea if you want to witness the total solar eclipse without any challenges. If you don't want to break the bank you can witness the partial or total eclipse visible from your homes or view NASA's live stream of the event.


3. Why eclipse glasses are necessary

For people experiencing the event live, it is advised that they carry eclipse glasses with them. These special glasses offer protection from damaging rays and can't be replaced with regular sunglasses. However, it's advised that people shouldn't drive with eclipse glasses on as it can cause accidents. One can view 'totality' without eclipse glasses but only when just the solar corona is on display. People can take off their glasses only when the sun's face is completely blocked by the moon.

4. Planning for weather inconsistencies

Another thing to keep in mind is the weather. Many eclipse chasers are trying to figure out the weather but nothing has been fixed for the time being. People won't be able to tell if the sky will be clear or if it will be cloudy up until a few hours before the eclipse. As per BBC, forecasters have predicted cloudy conditions in parts of Mexico, Texas and the Great Lakes region.


5. Enjoy the moment and witness the rare phenomenon in all its glory

As there will be a lot of photos of the event, people can opt not to click pictures of the solar eclipse if they don't want to and experience that moment to the fullest. But if you want to take snaps, a telephoto lens is the best option as it will be able to capture great details. Above all, people witnessing totality should take a moment to appreciate how wonderful our universe can be.  


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