How to Prepare for the 2024 Eclipse

Eclipse

The total solar eclipse occurring on April 8, 2024, will be visible in parts of the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

This eclipse will provide a unique opportunity for people to witness the awe-inspiring phenomenon where the Moon completely blocks out the Sun, casting a shadow on the Earth and creating a temporary twilight-like environment.

National Science Foundation’s livestream is a free resource that anyone can use to share the excitement of science.

What is a Total Eclipse?

A total eclipse occurs when the Moon aligns perfectly between the Earth and the Sun, obscuring the Sun’s entire disk from view. This alignment creates a momentary darkness during the day as the Moon casts its shadow on the Earth’s surface. It’s a rare and captivating event that captures the imagination of sky gazers around the world.

View NASA’s Eclipse Explorer.

Map of totality of the 2024 solar eclipse
Photo Credit: NASA/Scientific Visualization Studio/Michala Garrison; Eclipse Calculations By Ernie Wright, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

What will the eclipse look like in Seattle?

In Seattle, during the 2024 solar eclipse, observers will experience a partial eclipse. This means the Moon won’t completely cover the Sun, but it will block part of it from our view. The maximum eclipse, or when the Sun will be the most hidden, will occur April 8 at 11:29 a.m.

During the eclipse, if you look up at the Sun (with proper eye protection, of course!), you’ll see a chunk of the Sun missing. It’s like a little bite has been taken out of it. This happens because Seattle isn’t directly in the path where the Moon perfectly covers the Sun, like some other places.

View an animation of what the 2024 total solar eclipse will look like in Seattle!

What should I do to be safe during the eclipse?

To stay safe during the solar eclipse, here are some important reminders:

  • Use eye protection: Never look directly at the Sun without certified solar viewing glasses. These glasses make sure your eyes stay safe while you watch the amazing show in the sky. Remember, sunglasses are not proper eye protection during the eclipse!
  • Protect your camera and phone: If you’re planning to take photos or videos of the eclipse, make sure to use solar filters specifically designed for cameras and phones.
  • Use indirect viewing methods: Try using a pinhole projector, colander or making a solar viewer with a cereal box to see the eclipse without looking directly at the Sun.
Someone holding a colander above a white piece of paper to show shadows during eclipse

When is the next total solar eclipse?

After April 8, 2024, eager eclipse enthusiasts will have to exercise some patience. The next total solar eclipse visible from the United States won’t occur until August 23, 2044—more than two decades later!

According to the Planetary Society, the 2044 eclipse path of totality will only touch three states. It will begin in Greenland, sweep through Canada, and end as the Sun sets in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Did you know that PacSci has a Planetarium on-site?

At PacSci, we’re proud to have an incredible planetarium on campus. Join us for a variety of captivating shows that will take you on a journey through the cosmos. Whether you’re a young aspiring astronaut or a seasoned sky watcher, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Explore the wonders of astronomy, from preschool-friendly programs, such as Preschool All Stars, to more in-depth experiences, such as Earth: Pole to Pole and Sky Watch. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the mysteries of the universe at PacSci’s Willard Smith Planetarium!

All planetarium shows are free with general admission but do require timed tickets for entry. 50% of all planetarium tickets are reserved for advanced booking by PacSci members and 50% of all planetarium tickets are available for day-of booking by anyone.

Don’t miss the captivating IMAX ® documentary Deep Sky!

Deep Sky takes audiences on an extraordinary journey to the beginning of time and space. Through stunning visuals captured by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, viewers will witness never-before-seen cosmic landscapes, the birth of the universe, and the discovery of exoplanets. This immersive film captures the vast beauty of the cosmos on the giant IMAX screen, offering a truly awe-inspiring experience for audiences of all ages.

Experience the wonder of Deep Sky and expand your understanding of the universe during your next PacSci visit.

Thank you to our generous supporters, including more than 1,500 individuals, companies, and foundations, as well as more than 20,000 member households. Your support brings to life PacSci’s mission to ignite curiosity in every corner of Washington State and beyond.

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