Solar eclipse 2024

Not waiting until 2044

There was a solar eclipse in 2017. I did not see it, as its path was too far away. It crossed the United States from near Portland, OR, to Kansas City, MO, to Charleston, SC. Nashville, TN, was probably the nearest place to me.

By comparison, the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, is just better. Per NASA: “Totality will last longer than it did in 2017. Seven years ago, the longest period of totality was experienced near Carbondale, Illinois, at 2 minutes, 42 seconds.

“For the upcoming eclipse, totality will last up to 4 minutes, 28 seconds, in an area about 25 minutes northwest of Torreón, Mexico. As the eclipse enters Texas, totality will last about 4 minutes and 26 seconds at the center of the eclipse’s path. Durations longer than 4 minutes stretch as far north as Economy, Indiana. Even as the eclipse exits the U.S. and enters Canada, the eclipse will last up to 3 minutes, 21 seconds.”

And closer. “Totality will be visible through…  Upstate New York  (including Buffalo,  Niagara Falls, Rochester, Syracuse, Watertown, the Adirondacks, Potsdam, and Plattsburgh)…” And there won’t be another one in the US until 2044, when I’ll be 91. I should try to experience this one.

Almost good enough

Albany, NY, will be at 96.6% of totality at 3:26 p.m., which is pretty darn good, and there are places to watch. Spectrum 1 News in the Capital District will be airing the eclipse starting at 2 pm.

But I wanted the full effect. The closest place with totality is Rome, NY, with 30 seconds. I thought to take the Amtrak out there, but the event is at 3;25 and the train leaves at 3:35, almost certainly loading too early.

I looked at trains farther west and also north, but they didn’t work out either. So I went with Plan B, which I’ll tell you about in due course. But it won’t be in Niagara Falls.

“Canada’s Niagara region has proactively declared a state of emergency ahead of a rare total solar eclipse on April 8 that is expected to gather massive crowds to areas in and around the region’s popular waterfalls.” 

I had gotten the proper eyewear on March 2. They arrived during my hearts party, and I put the box aside. Three weeks later, I couldn’t find it, so I ordered more and accidentally had them sent to my sister in North Carolina, who has no use for them. Finally, I’m set for this. notes this: 

  • As we pass into Erie, Pennsylvania, and Buffalo, NY, the chance of cloudiness settles around the mid-60s. 
  • The further away from the Great Lakes, the better the chance of clear skies; Rochester, NY, has a 60% chance of clouds. But in Watertown and Plattsburg, the chance of cloudiness rises to 70%.

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