Thursday, February 08, 2024

Where to Watch April's Solar Eclipse

On April 8, 2024 people across large parts of the USA will be able to see a total solar eclipse. If it isn't cloudy.

In 1999 I traveled to France to experience a total solar eclipse. Unfortunately the experience was ruined slightly by overcast skies. What made it even more galling was to discover that a friend of mine had traveled independently from me and had a cloudless view of the eclipse just 100 miles from my final eclipse viewing location. 

This year you can lessen your chances of experiencing the total eclipse obscured by clouds by using NOAA's new U.S. Climate Normals Solar Eclipse map. On this map colored bands show the passage of the solar eclipse across the United States (with the darkest band showing the path of totality). However the map also provides an estimate of the likely climate conditions at different viewing locations based on average weather conditions at that location. Including information about how likely a location is to experience clouds on April 8th.

If you zoom on an area where you are interested in viewing the solar eclipse from and click on the black button at the bottom of the map you can view an attribute table showing detailed information about the climate at your chosen location. These details include information on the type of cloud cover in that area based on historical averages.

On April 8 the path of totality will cross Mexico, the United States, and Canada, and will be about 115 miles wide. If you are within the path of totality, you will see the Sun completely blocked out by the Moon for about two minutes. If you want to preview what the solar eclipse might look like for different locations then you can use the 2024 Solar Eclipse Simulator.

The 2024 Solar Eclipse Simulator allows you to preview how the solar eclipse will appear at any location. It is therefore another fantastic tool for planning where best to view the eclipse. Obviously it is best to view an eclipse from a location within the path of totality (the locations where the Moon's shadow will completely cover the Sun during the solar eclipse). The simulator will be particularly useful for anyone who can't travel to a location within the path of totality and is curious as to what a partial eclipse might look like from a particular location.

Just click anywhere on the provided interactive map to view a simulation from that location. Once the simulation loads you can then use the playback controls to watch your solar eclipse simulation. These controls allow you to adjust the speed of the simulation and to choose whether to view the position of the stars and Baily's Beads (beads of sunlight that appear around the edge of the moon during an eclipse) during the simulation of the eclipse.

No comments: