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Solar eclipse visible in New York on April 8: time, where to watch, weather forecast

The 2024 solar eclipse has a path of totality which will cross over certain parts of New York State on April 8, in what NASA says will be the last chance to see a total eclipse in the U.S. for the next 20 years.

Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y. are predicted to witness a total eclipse, meaning the sun will be completely covered by the moon, sometime between 3:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Other surrounding cities including NYC will only experience a partial eclipse.

Millions of people are expected to travel to cities stretching across the path of the eclipse from Texas to Maine, where it’s anticipated to be at its strongest. But experts are warning of the dangers of looking at the eclipse without the correct protective glasses.

Here’s a short guide of where to watch, what to expect and how to prepare for the historic event.

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, either partially or completely covering the sun in a way that casts a moving shadow on our planet, according to NASA.

The path of totality, where the sun is completely covered by the moon, is quite narrow due the large distances between the celestial objects and the size of the sun in comparison to the moon.

Only a select strip of the globe will get to experience the total eclipse, a phenomenon that’s particularly rare because of the moon’s unique orbit and the fact that it must be in a new moon phase for it to fully block out the sun.

Where can I watch the solar eclipse?

The eclipse will be visible to some extent in all states, except for Alaska and Hawaii.

Stretching from the Texas/Mexico border to the Maine/Canada border, the path of totality will cross many major cities including Dallas, Tex.; Little Rock, Ark.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo, N.Y., Erie, Pa; Burlington, Vt.; and Lancaster, N.H. Traffic on the day of the event is expected to be particularly cumbersome as millions of people crowd the narrow path.

The time when totality occurs is also important to note, and is slightly different for each location. Texas will begin to experience the eclipse around 1:27 p.m. CT, with the eclipse coming to an end in Maine around 3:35 p.m. ET.

The timing and coverage percentage of the eclipse in your location can be found by entering your zip code on eclipsesoundscapes.org.

If you’re not in the path of the eclipse, you can watch it live on the NASA website.

Will the weather forecast affect the view?

Thick clouds do have the potential to block the view of the eclipse and as of now, forecasters still aren’t sure exactly what the weather will bring that day.

On Monday, April 8, New York City is expected to see “a passing morning shower; otherwise, clouds giving way to some sun,” with a cloud coverage of about 53%, according to AccuWeather.

For Buffalo, where the eclipse is expected to be the strongest in the state, residents have a likelier chance of fully experiencing the phenomenon, with only 26% cloud coverage predicted and a forecast that is “partly sunny.”

Even if thick clouds do block the view in New York, you’ll still experience the sudden darkness that comes with being near the path of totality.

Is the eclipse dangerous?

Yes, the exciting phenomenon could potentially cause harm if observed improperly. It has the potential to create problems on the ground as well.

Those who plan to look directly at the eclipse need to purchase special protective glasses, and experts are warning of dangerous knock-offs being sold. Directly viewing the sun during an eclipse can cause serious and permanent damage to your eyes.

The American Astronomical Society recommends buying glasses from a reputable vendor, and ensuring the product has an ISO 12312-2 technical standard.

There’s also the possibility of car crashes and other travel issues during the eclipse, as people scramble to get a good view. Flights may also be delayed or canceled due to congested travel and an unusually high number of drones in the sky.

What if I can’t get protective glasses in time?

One option is a solar filter, which you can purchase and attach to telescopes, binoculars or cameras.

It’s recommended you consult the manufacturer of your device to find the right filter, and to not use telescopes, binoculars or cameras without them, even if you have protective glasses.

A cheaper option is a pinhole viewer — an easily made device that involves two sheets of paper, some tinfoil and a hole. You simply turn your back towards the sun and adjust your position until you see the outline of the sun or eclipse on the piece of paper. More in-depth directions are available here.

What makes this eclipse unique?

The 2024 total solar eclipse, or the “Great North American Eclipse” as it’s being dubbed, is creating particular buzz due to the unusual accessibility it will offer to millions across the country.

This year’s eclipse offers a much wider, more populated path of totality than the eclipse some may remember from 2017, as well as a longer time in totality for those in the right spot (more than 4 minutes of darkness, as opposed to 2 minutes in 2017).

There will also be increased solar activity compared to the last total eclipse, meaning a higher likelihood of seeing prominences on the surface of the sun, appearing as bright pink curls rising off the surface.

If you’re lucky, you may even witness a coronal mass ejection, or a large explosion of plasma and other solar materials.


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