April 8, 2024: Solar Eclipse

Image of 2017 solar eclipse. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

On Monday, April 8th, 2024, the Moon crossed in front of the Sun as seen from much of North America, giving millions of Americans another chance to experience a solar eclipse. Like in October 2023 and August 2017, Maryland experienced a partial solar eclipse. During a partial eclipse the Sun is never fully blocked by the Moon. This means that it is never safe to look directly at a partial eclipse without special eye protection — regular sunglasses are not okay! Please see below for more information on safe observing practices.

From Maryland, the beginning of Monday’s eclipse (aka “first contact”) was be at approximately 2:05 p.m. according to timeanddate.com, depending slightly on the viewer’s location. Maximum eclipse depth of approximately 90% coverage occurred at 3:21 p.m. and the show was all over at around 4:30 p.m.

For eclipse watchers in the Baltimore area, a couple of opportunities to come out (or stay in) and see the spectacle were:

Eclipse safety: It is very important not to look at the partial eclipse directly unless you have appropriate eye protection such as special eclipse glasses (NOT regular sunglasses) from a reputable manufacturer. Courtesy of NASA, here is a summary of information about eclipse safety. Key takeaways: either use special eclipse glasses or use an indirect viewing method, such as a projected image from a pinhole camera.

While Maryland experienced only a partial eclipse, a swath of the USA stretching from Texas to New England briefly fell into darkness as the Moon fully covered the Sun, creating the fateful (and amazing) condition known as a total eclipse. The image below shows the approximate locations where this occurred; for more detail see NASA’s Where & When.

Map of continental USA showing the path of totality for the April 8, 2024 solar eclipse.
Map of continental USA showing the path of totality for the April 8, 2024 solar eclipse. Credit: NASA.

To all eclipse watchers, we wish you clear skies!