The Great North American Eclipse: This Week in Astronomy with Dave Eicher

After years of waiting, the big day is almost here — on April 8, a total solar eclipse will wash over Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
By | Published: March 25, 2024

It’s been a long wait, but the Great North American Eclipse is just about here. On April 8, Mexico, the United States, and eastern Canada will be treated to a total solar eclipse — arguably the greatest of all spectacles in the solar system.

Click here for all of Astronomy magazine’s 2024 eclipse coverage.

“What’s the big deal?” you might ask. Well, it’s the only chance we get here on Earth to see the Sun’s atmosphere — the glowing corona, or crown, that surrounds the disk of the Sun. These tendrils of plasma stream from the Sun, tracing out the lines of its magnetic field. This spectacle can only be seen against the darkness of a sky with a totally eclipsed Sun — which is why being in the path of totality is so important.

If you’re close to the path of totality and are set to witness just a partial eclipse, well, unfortunately, that’s nothing compared to totality. The Sun’s disk is so bright that the slightest fraction of it left uncovered will completely wash out the corona. Do everything you can to get into the path of totality.

On top of that, eclipses can be emotional events. It’s amazing to witness the precision of the bodies in our solar system aligning. It can cause people to tear up and be awed by the splendor of nature — especially for those witnessing their first total eclipse. I hope you’ll make it to the path of totality and get to see this marvelous event.

And don’t forget, you can read everything you need to know about viewing this eclipse in the April issue of Astronomy and in our eclipse coverage here on

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