This NASA Map Shows Exactly What You’ll See During April’s Eclipse From Everywhere in the United States

More than 300 million people in the US will see a partial eclipse on April 8, 2024.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Days from now, on April 8, the Moon will block part of the Sun across the entire continental United States, plus the Alaska peninsula, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Although a lucky group gets a total solar eclipse, millions more will enjoy the rare treat of being in the path of a partial total eclipse.

A partial eclipse is an imperfect alignment of three celestial bodies: the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon sandwiched in between them. If your area won’t get a total eclipse, a partial one is still worth the effort to step outside and take a safe look.

Solar eclipses only happen during the New Moon phase, when Earth’s natural satellite passes between Earth and the Sun. The Moon’s shadow is usually invisible. But Earth is the background for the Moon’s shadow during a total solar eclipse.

The lunar shadow has two main parts: the penumbra and the umbra. The path of totality on April 8, 2024, which starts in Mexico and then travels northeastward into Canada, is created by the umbra, the deepest and fullest part of the Moon’s shadow. Around the umbra is the partial shadow, called the penumbra. The entire continental United States falls under the eclipse’s penumbral shadow. In fact, a partial eclipse will be visible for more than 300 million people living in the US. Here’s how to figure out what you will be able to see.

How can I see the partial eclipse?

The farther away you are from the path of totality, the more the partial eclipse will look like a bite was taken out of the solar disk. The closer you are to the path of totality, the more your view will resemble a crescent moon.

Tools like this NASA map and the website Time and Date give times for the start and end of a partial eclipse, and when it reaches maximum. That’s the moment when your location is blocked the most by the Sun. This might seem obvious, but there is no moment during a partial eclipse when looking at the Sun directly is safe. That includes the maximum of the partial eclipse.

NASA created this map to show the paths of totality of the 2023 annular solar eclipse and the 2024 total solar eclipse. The April 8 eclipse travels northeastward. To see how much of the Sun will be blocked by the Moon in your location, look at the bottom and right edges of the map for partial eclipse percentages. Each diagonal line marks a five percent change in the amount of shadow. (To best view this map, download a 5400×2700 version here, or download a 10800×5400 version here. )

NASA/Scientific Visualization Studio/Michala Garrison; Eclipse Calculations By Ernie Wright, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Knowing the maximum is a helpful way to gauge your expectations and anticipate the gradual return of the full solar disk that will follow.

Many local governments and organizations are giving free eclipse glasses to the public. Whether you’re buying online or getting a free set, check the manufacturer against this list of approved suppliers that the American Astronomical Society put together.

Telescopes, binoculars, or cameras must have a safe solar filter in front of the device, and not on the eye piece! Some special telescopes or binoculars have the solar filters built into the instrument, too.

When in doubt, grab an empty shoebox and create a pinhole projector. NASA Goddard created a video for doing just that.

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