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Solar Eclipse 2024

An Unforgettable Experience
Map of the total solar eclipse pathway. Other states will have partial view. Source: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Millions will be able to see this year’s solar eclipse with the naked eye on April 8, 2024. A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the Sun and Earth, which casts the Moon’s shadow on Earth.  

The most recent solar eclipse occurred on August 21, 2017, with a totality of two minutes and 42 seconds. However, this year’s longest totality will last approximately 4 minutes and 28 seconds. The last time that the totality was about that long in North America was on June 16, 1806, when it lasted up to 4 minutes and 55 seconds; however, in the entire world there was a longer one. 

According to Live Science, “The longest totality on record was 7 minutes, 28 seconds on June 15 743 B.C., which occurred in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Kenya and Somalia in Africa”, according to calculations from NASA. 

The sun is predicted to reach solar maximum. There are solar minimums and solar maximums. This is caused by the sun’s magnetic field flips, causing a cycle of increasing then decreasing solar activity. During a solar maximum, the sun becomes more active, having more giant eruptions from the sun. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible in North America, with solar maximum was on February 26, 1979. 

The pathway is from northern Mexico, U.S., and southeastern Canada. The path for this year’s solar eclipse path over North America will range between 108 and 122 miles wide, mostly cities are in the pathway this for this solar eclipse. This year will be the most watched total solar eclipse ever in North America. NASA created an interactive Eclipse Explorer map.

In Weirton, you will be able to see a partial solar eclipse because the city is not 100% in the pathway. Around 3 pm, most of the sun will be covered, but not all of it. The website Time and Date, provides more detail about when and how long the partial eclipse will last in Weirton. 

This map shows where the total eclipse will be seen and from Weirton a partial eclipse will be seen.

Many people are planning special events for this eclipse. Some schools are even closing on this day because of concerns about it. 

According to NASA, “An estimated 31.6 million people live in the path of totality this year, compared to 12 million in 2017.” 

This experience can be dangerous, so make sure to be careful. Even though the sun acts the same way with an eclipse as it regularly does, it can still damage your eyes when looking at it. 

The American Refractive Surgery Council states, “When there is limited light, the iris expands the size of the pupil to allow more light into the eye to see. The damage occurs because the eye is fooled by the celestial phenomenon and allows a potentially dangerous amount of UV light into the eye, which has the very real capacity to damage the retina.” 

The Academy of Opthalmology offers many tips for viewing the eclipse safely.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides clear instructions for solar eclipse eye safety. To experience this solar eclipse safely, one of the most typical ways is to wear specific eclipse glasses. Make sure that the glasses are real. To do this, put them on and if you can see ordinary lights through your glasses, then they are not safe.  

Solar Eclipse glasses can be found for free at Mary H. Weir Library, or for sale at Walmart and other retailers.

According to Harvard University Health Services, “Eclipse glasses or eyewear that meet international standard ISO 12312-2 are the only safe way to view a solar eclipse.”

If you are driving, put the sun visor down to block your view of the sun. Do not try to photograph or videotape while you are driving. Do not pullover on the side of the road, highway, or interstate to view the eclipse. 

Stay safe and enjoy this experience on April 8 with your safe solar eclipse glasses! 

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About the Contributor
Kaydence Cain
Kaydence Cain, Staff member
My name is Kaydence Cain, I am a freshman and this is my first year on WSM. I have learned a lot about journalism and plan to learn more. I hope to gain more knowledge and skills in journalism to make my work better. I am a part of Varsity Weir High Swim Team, Follansbee Swim Team, and Girls Athletic Association. I like to train at the gym and accomplished benching 135 pounds. In the future I plan to go to college and become a nurse practitioner. As well as traveling the world. I put as much effort as I can into my sport and school.
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