Updated Apr 8, 2024 - Science

Everything you need to know about Monday's solar eclipse

Illustration of a pair of sunglasses with eclipses for lenses.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Get your eclipse glasses ready and set a reminder: Monday offers a rare, brief chance to see a solar eclipse for most of the country.

Why it matters: You'll have to wait until 2044 to spot a total solar eclipse in the contiguous U.S. if you miss this celestial event, according to NASA.

The big picture: It depends on where you're located — and the weather — if you'll be able to see a total solar eclipse or a partial eclipse.

  • It's the first total solar eclipse visible in the U.S. since 2017 and because the Moon will be closer to Earth than that year, it will be significantly broader and pass over far more people, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.
  • Monday's eclipse is different from the annular solar eclipse from October, which had a "ring of fire" effect.

What time is the solar eclipse Monday?

The total eclipse is set to begin in continental North America at 11:07am PDT starting with Mexico's Pacific Coast, NASA says.

The partial eclipse will be visible for most of the country at different times and depending on weather conditions.

What is a total solar eclipse?

A total eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun, NASA explains.

  • The path of totality is where the Moon's shadow completely covers the Sun.
  • The sky will darken, as if it were dawn or dusk, for a few minutes during the total eclipse.

What is a partial solar eclipse?

A partial eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth but the three don't perfectly line up.

  • Most people outside the path of totality will instead see a partial eclipse, which makes the Sun look like a crescent.
  • People in Hawaii and parts of Alaska will also experience a partial solar eclipse, NASA said.

The intrigue: Those in the path of totality will also experience a partial eclipse before and after the brief minutes of darkness.

Eclipse path 2024

The path of totality will pass over parts of 15 states and should completely engulf several major cities in darkness, including Dallas, Indianapolis and Cleveland.

  • The eclipse will enter the U.S. in Texas and travel through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, NASA said.

Totality will last the longest over Mexico at 4 minutes, 28 seconds.

  • Most places along the path will see a totality duration between 3.5 and 4 minutes, according to NASA.

Watch total eclipse live

NASA will broadcast the eclipse live from 1-4pm on NASA TV, nasa.gov, the NASA app and on YouTube.

  • The American Astronomical Society is tracking other live streams on its website.

Solar eclipse glasses

Taking a glimpse at the eclipse without the right protective eyewear can cause severe eye injury.

Zoom in: "Except during the brief total phase of a total solar eclipse, when the Moon completely blocks the Sun's bright face, it is not safe to look directly at the Sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing," NASA warns.

What we're watching: 7-Eleven and EG America stores are among the businesses selling glasses.

Some schools closed for total eclipse

Many schools across the country are closed Monday for the total eclipse.

  • Some schools, such as those in San Antonio, will close in part because they anticipate traffic issues from the thousands of people who are expected to travel to cities along the path of totality.
  • Other schools will have early release days but many are building lessons around the eclipse.

Select Wegmans closing 30 minutes for eclipse

Wegmans is closing 48 grocery stores located in the total eclipse's path of totality for 30 minutes — from 3 to 3:30pm Monday — to give store employees a chance to view it, the company said in a news release.

  • This includes stores throughout upstate New York and in Erie, Pennsylvania.
  • See the list of affected Wegmans stores here.

Next eclipse: Schedule of future eclipses

What's next: The next total solar eclipse that will be visible in the contiguous U.S. is Aug. 23, 2044, NASA said. It will only graze a sliver of Montana and North Dakota.

  • There's also a total eclipse August 12, 2045, per NationalEclipse.com. This will stretch from California to Florida.

Between the lines: If you're motivated to travel, parts of Iceland and Spain will see an eclipse in 2026, Axios' Will Chase reports. This eclipse will occur Aug. 12, 2026.

  • The next "ring of fire" annular eclipse for the U.S. is set for June 21, 2039. This solar eclipse will occur in the U.S., Canada, Greenland and Europe, according to NationalEclipse.com.

More from Axios:

Editor's note: This story was updated with a link to Axios' live eclipse blog and information on future eclipses.

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