Travel Your guide to the solar eclipse 2024 - when...

Your guide to the solar eclipse 2024 – when is it happening?

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Is there really a mass wedding?

Just a few moments before the eclipse, almost 300 couples from 22 states are set to wed in Russellville, Arkansas, which is in the area of totality. Among them are Carlotta Cox and Matthew Holloway of Knoxville, Tennessee.

“Being in the path of totality during a solar eclipse is just something,” Mr Cox told a local reporter. “There’s not an experience like it and for people that have not really experienced it, I recommend that they put it on their bucket list.”

What are others doing?

There are watch parties hosted by everything from Brooklyn Botanic Garden (which should get around 90 per cent totality) to the Main Street Garden in Dallas, which should get 100 per cent totality.

The New York Adventure Club is selling a three-day train journey in 1950s First Class Pullman cars for $8,000 from New York City to Niagara Falls from April 7-9 “to witness an awe-inspiring total eclipse pass over New York State for the first time in over 60 years”. Inmates at New York state’s Woodbourne Correctional Facility will get to view the eclipse after lawyers sued the state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision over not being allowed to see it.

The path of the sun during a total eclipse by the moon

What will happen during the eclipse?

“During a total eclipse, the sky darkens suddenly and dramatically. The temperature drops. Stars come out. Beautiful colours appear around the horizon,” said National Public Radio science journalist Nell Greenfieldboyce.

“And the once-familiar Sun becomes a black void in the sky surrounded by the glowing corona – that’s the ghostly white ring that is the Sun’s atmosphere.”

While it is not expected pets and farm and zoo animals will act too strangely, there are some potential exceptions; the New York Times says “cows may mosey into their barns for bedtime, flamingoes may huddle together in fear [and] the giant, slow-motion Galápagos tortoise may even get frisky and mate”. In truth, nobody is completely sure and experts will be watching what happens.

Is it safe to look at the Sun?

Experts say it is not safe to look at the Sun during a partial eclipse with the naked eye and people should use eclipse glasses that are thousands of times darker than normal sunglasses. The American Astronomical Society has published a list of authorised vendors. During the few minutes of totality, when the Moon is fully blocking the Sun, it is safe to look.

People watch the solar eclipse on the lawn of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles in 2017

Is there also a comet to see?

During totality viewers may be able to see Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks a comet, along with Venus Saturn and Mars. It may be hard to see with the naked eye.

When was the last total solar eclipse?

The last was August 21, 2017, August 21, 2017, but it only lasted about half the time of this one. The next total eclipse is to take place in Wed, Aug 12, 2026, but expected to hit just parts of Greenland, Iceland and Spain.

When is the next total solar eclipse in the UK?

The next total solar eclipse in the UK will be on September 23, 2090. Totality will be visible in Newquay, Plymouth, Southampton, the Isle of Wight, as well as parts of northern France (including Paris) and south Belgium. The next total solar eclipse in the US will be in 2033, but only over Alaska, followed by another in 2044.


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