Total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024: Watch online, what time, path of totality

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This is the time of shadow, Child Soon, people living in North America will get to see their first solar eclipse in almost a decade.

Even though the last solar eclipse in North America occurred in 2017, the next solar eclipse is not expected until August 2044, so it is important to capture the moment. More than a unique shadow, a solar eclipse is an ideal opportunity to hang out with loved ones and meditate on the smallness of humanity compared to the vast universe.

And even if you don't live in the path of totality or you're not one of the millions of people traveling to see the major event, there are plenty of ways for you to join in and watch the total solar eclipse online.

What is a total solar eclipse?

“It is an alignment of the Sun, Moon and Earth thus The Moon passes directly between the Sun and the Earth, blocks the Sun's rays from reaching the Earth's surface,” says Noah Petro, NASA's Artemis III project scientist. If you're in the path of totality, you'll see the Moon completely cover the Sun. Off the main road? You can still see a partial eclipse, where the Moon covers a piece of the Sun.

Despite the Moon's involvement, a solar eclipse should not be confused with a lunar eclipse. During that time, the Moon moves into Earth's shadow and turns dark red. A lunar eclipse is visible throughout most of the hemisphere that is in front of the Moon at that time.

When is the solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse will occur, passing through parts of North America Monday, April 8, Depending on where you are on the path of totality, the solar eclipse will occur in the afternoon and potentially last about four minutes. For more specifics, check out NASA's map showing the exact time different US cities will experience the total eclipse.

What about a partial eclipse? For example, even though I live in San Francisco, far from the path of totality, I should still see a small portion of the sun covered between 10 a.m. and noon. Check out this handy link to see when it happens wherever you are.

Where will it appear?

While a total solar eclipse is mainly occurring Mexico and United StatesA small portion of Eastern Canada is also on the path to totality. To see what it might look like in different locations, check out this great website created by a retired mathematician that simulates a solar eclipse.

The three major Mexican cities where you can see the total solar eclipse are Mazatlan, Durango, and Torreon.

There are several places across America where you can potentially experience totality. Some locations include Dallas, Texas; Russellville, Arkansas; Carbondale, Illinois; Greenwood, Indiana; and Buffalo, New York.