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Everything you need to know about today’s Great American Solar Eclipse

The 2024 Great American Solar Eclipse is here, and North America is in the path of totality. Parts of 15 states have the opportunity to view the eclipse at full totality, where the moon covers the entirety of the sun. However, most Americans will be able to view a partial eclipse. About 31.6 million people live in the path of totality, according to NASA. The path will range between 108 and 122 miles wide. An additional 150 million people live within 200 miles of the path of totality. The eclipse is expected to last three to four minutes depending on location. 99% of Americans will be able to view the eclipse, though they will only see it partially. For this eclipse, the moon is a bit closer to Earth than it was during the 2017 total solar eclipse, meaning its path is wider, according to NASA.

During today’s eclipse, NASA is funding several research initiatives that build on research done during the 2017 eclipse. The projects, led by several researchers at many different institutions, will study the Sun and its influence on Earth with a variety of instruments, including cameras aboard high-altitude research planes, ham radios, and more. In addition to those projects, instruments that were launched during the 2023 annular solar eclipse on three sounding rockets will again be launched during the upcoming total solar eclipse.

The next total eclipse will not be until 2044, so you don’t want to miss out on this amazing phenomenon. Make sure to not look at the sun directly with your bare eyes, as this could damage your retina and possibly cause blindness. The only glasses that should be used to look at a partially or fully eclipsed sun are eclipse glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international guidelines, according to the American Optometric Association. Some glasses sold on Amazon have false printing and are invalid; when you wear your glasses inside you should not be able to see anything except for bright lights in the distance. If you can see your furniture, your eclipse glasses are not legitimate and should not be used.

Wildlife may exhibit a reaction to the sudden darkness. Your pets may become anxious, especially if they have storm anxiety. You may hear owls hoot, crickets chirp, and birds squawking when darkness falls.

Happy Eclipse Day!

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