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The Vista Voice

The student news site of Vista del Lago

The Vista Voice

The student news site of Vista del Lago

The Vista Voice

A Guide for Watching the Solar Eclipse


On April 8, a remarkable event is going to happen in North America. The 2024 total solar eclipse is around the corner, and it’s time to prepare for it because if you miss it, you’ll have to wait 20 years. Here are some tips for getting ready for it and what to expect from this event.

Why the eclipse is so special

A total solar eclipse happens rarely in America, with the last one being in 2017.

The best part of seeing a total solar eclipse is the totality portion — the only point when you can take off your glasses for just a minute and look at the sun with your own eyes.

This year’s total solar eclipse is extra special, with the sun being in its solar maximum, allowing for more activity and a high chance of seeing solar streamers which are the streams of light that come off the sun that can’t be seen normally. If the timing is just right, there’s the chance of seeing a coronal mass ejection with your own eyes.

Location and timing

Location and timing are key for viewing a solar eclipse, especially if you’re going to be traveling to see it, so planning will be key for choosing a location.

Any location along the path of totality will work. Smaller towns would be preferable due to more open space to be able to view the eclipse and being less crowded. If you have a location in mind, then you can look up what time the eclipse will start and when the totality portion begins.

When totality begins, it takes a few minutes until it reaches maximum darkness, which is when the moon fully blocks the sun and allows for a person to view the eclipse without any equipment. When the maximum starts, it only lasts for a few minutes until the totality ends, so it is important to make sure you are ready to view the whole eclipse as there is only a very short time frame to view it.


To safely view the eclipse and get the best view possible without damaging your eyesight, it’s best to use solar glasses, for their ease of use and low price. Few stores stock them, but they are easy to find online for a low price. Glasses like these would work.

If you want to use a camera to take pictures, you’ll need a solar filter even if it’s a phone camera. If you don’t use one, you can get major eye damage. “Please don’t be ridiculous and look up at it without proper protection. You might not have any damage that you can notice now, but down the road, it often has consequences, like cataracts,” said Janice Johnson.

For any extra information about the eclipse path, visit the official NASA page for the eclipse.

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