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Total Solar Eclipse - April 8, 2024

Parts of North America will be treated to a total solar eclipse on the afternoon of Monday, April 8, 2024. Total solar eclipses are perhaps nature’s greatest spectacle — and our Smilin V Scout Ranch will be perfectly positioned for the show.

According to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the total eclipse will be over Smilin V between 1:35 pm and 1:40 pm on Monday, April 8, 2024.

Why is Smilin V “perfectly positioned” for the total eclipse?

To get the maximum effect of the eclipse, you must be in the “path of totality.” The path of totality is what astronomers call the swath of the Earth’s surface bathed in deep shadow when the moon completely blocks out the sun. Whoever is within that roughly 124-mile wide band that will curve across the United States from Texas to Maine will enjoy the full impact of the rare event, the likes of which won’t be seen again until 2444. Those even barely outside the path will experience much less of a show because the sun is so bright that even a sliver of direct sunlight will mute the dramatic effects.

  • For this particular eclipse, the band of totality in the U.S. stretches from Texas to Maine.
  • The 2024 eclipse has a maximum totality of 4 minutes and 28 seconds, which will occur in northern Mexico.
  • At Smilin V, we’ll be treated to nearly 4 minutes and 10 seconds of darkness, among the the largest amount of time for any populated area in the world.
  • Click here for a map showing the total eclipse’s path over Texas (map courtesy NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio)

What is a Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon cast a shadow on the Earth by moving between the Sun and the Earth. Solar eclipses are rare because the moon actually circles the Earth in an elliptical path, which means the moon can end up too high, too low or too far to either side to ask a complete shadow. Additionally, the Earth moves around the sun in an elliptical path also, which means it also can end up a bit too high or two low for the moon to line up correct to cast a shadow. It is only when both paths line up exactly right do we get an eclipse visible at a location on Earth.

Interestingly, there are eclipse seasons, where eclipses are a bit more common because of the elliptical path the moon is traveling. Right now we are in an eclipse season and we are getting an unique opportunity to see two examples within one year.

What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

Remember how the moon moves in an elliptical path? This means that sometimes the moon is closer to the Earth and sometimes it is farther away. This means that there are two different types of Eclipse, Annular Eclipse and Total Solar Eclipse.

An Annular Eclipse is when the moon is farther away from the Earth and thus appears smaller in diameter than the sun. This results in the moon not fully covering the sun and the outer part (not just the corona) is visible. The term Annular mean ring, and and Annular Eclipse is sometimes called a “Ring of Fire”.

A Total Solar Eclipse is when the moon close enough to the Earth that it’s shadow can completely cover the sun. This means that only the corona of the sun is visible for a certain amount of time and the area covered by the shadow will completely darken.