The Best Places To View The Total Solar Eclipse InThe United States & Canada (2024)
GAFFL
17th Jul | 6 min read

Table of Contents

    The total solar eclipse occurring on April 8, 2024, is a significant astronomical event where the moon will completely cover the sun, casting a shadow on Earth and temporarily turning day into night. Here's everything you need to know about this event:


    Viewing the Eclipse

    • Best Way to See It: The best way to experience the total solar eclipse is to be within the path of totality, where the moon will fully cover the sun. This path will cross parts of North America, including the United States and Canada.

    • Eye Protection: It is crucial to use proper eye protection when viewing the eclipse to prevent serious eye damage. Regular sunglasses are not sufficient. You need eclipse glasses or solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.


    Making Eye Protection

    • You can purchase eclipse glasses from reputable vendors. If you choose to make your own, use solar viewing or "eclipse" glasses material, ensuring no scratches or damage. Do not use regular materials like smoked glass, film negatives, or CDs, as they do not offer safe protection.

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    Best Places to View the Eclipse in the United States

    Northeast:

    • Erie, Pennsylvania: Erie, situated on the shores of Lake Erie, offers a picturesque setting for observing the eclipse. Eclipse chasers from nearby Pittsburgh might flock here for the event.

      • Start Time: 3:16 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes 42 seconds

    • Niagara Falls, New York: For stunning views, head to Terrapin Point overlooking Niagara Falls. The Sun will hang directly over the Falls, providing a unique perspective.

      • Start Time: 3:20 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes 31 seconds

    • Buffalo, New York: Buffalo's downtown lies on the eclipse's center line, promising a pause in the city's activity during mid-afternoon for this celestial event.

      • Start Time: 3:20 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes 45 seconds

    • Plattsburgh, New York: Situated just an hour's drive from Montreal, Plattsburgh offers an extended totality duration for serious eclipse chasers.

      • Start Time: 3:27 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes 33 seconds

    • Mars Hill, Maine: Despite its small size, Mars Hill promises a fittingly named spot to witness the eclipse, with an option to drive south for additional totality time.

      • Start Time: 3:33 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes 12 seconds

    • Burlington, Vermont: With three minutes and 19 seconds of darkness, Burlington offers one of the best spots in the region to catch the eclipse.

      • Start Time: 3:26 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes 19 seconds

    • Houlton, Maine: As the northernmost spot in the U.S. for the eclipse, Houlton will be among the last to experience totality, lasting for three minutes and 20 seconds.

      • Start Time: 3:32 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes 20 seconds


    Midwest:

    • Cape Girardeau, Missouri: Positioned along the Mississippi River, Cape Girardeau offers a convenient location for eclipse enthusiasts with additional totality nearby.

      • Start Time: 2:00 p.m. CDT

      • Duration: 4 minutes 6 seconds

    • Vincennes, Indiana: Positioned squarely on the eclipse's center line, Vincennes is likely to attract eclipse enthusiasts from the surrounding regions.

      • Start Time: 3:04 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 4 minutes 5 seconds

    • Indianapolis, Indiana: Serving as a focal point for the eclipse in Indiana, Indianapolis offers ample amenities for travelers and promises nearly four minutes of totality.

      • Start Time: 3:07 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes 49 seconds

    • Bloomington, Indiana: Home to Indiana University, Bloomington provides a scenic setting for witnessing the eclipse with an extended duration of about four minutes.

      • Start Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes 47 seconds

    • Lima, Ohio: Positioned well for eclipse viewing, Lima offers a moderate influx of visitors with an option for extended totality duration nearby.

      • Start Time: 3:11 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes 51 seconds

    • Cleveland, Ohio: With its large metropolitan population, Cleveland is sure to host numerous eclipse chasers, offering various attractions to fill the waiting time.

      • Start Time: 3:15 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes 49 seconds

    • Carbondale, Illinois: Informally known as "Little Egypt," Carbondale provides an extended totality period of four minutes and 10 seconds, along with public viewing events at Southern Illinois University.

      • Start Time: 1:59 p.m. CDT

      • Duration: 4 minutes 10 seconds

    South:

    • Radar Base, Texas: Located near the U.S.-Mexico border, Radar Base offers the maximum possible totality duration within the U.S.

      • Start Time: 1:29 p.m. CDT

      • Duration: 4 minutes 27 seconds

    • Kerrville, Texas: Part of the Texas Hill Country, Kerrville provides a prime location for eclipse viewing with nearly four and a half minutes of darkness. 

      • Start Time: 1:32 p.m. CDT

      • Duration:  4 minutes 25 seconds

    • Lampasas, Texas: For those based in Austin, Lampasas offers a closer spot to the center line for an extended totality period. Austin and Dallas are also in the path of totality, but will only experience the darkness for about two minutes and a little under four minutes

      • Start Time: 1:37 p.m. CDT

      • Duration: 4 minutes 24 seconds

    • Hillsboro, Texas: Conveniently located along Interstate 35, Hillsboro lies on the center line of totality, maximizing the viewing experience for eclipse enthusiasts.

      • Start Time: 2:40 p.m. CDT

      • Duration: 4 minutes 23 seconds

    • Russellville, Arkansas: Hosting exciting programming for the eclipse, Russellville offers nearly four minutes and 12 seconds of totality, along with nearby scenic spots like Mount Nebo.

      • Start Time: 1:50 p.m. CDT

      • Duration: 4 minutes 11 seconds

    Best Places to View the Eclipse in Canada

    • Point Pelee National Park, Ontario: Positioned as mainland Canada's first location for totality, Point Pelee offers stunning natural scenery along with a chance to witness wildlife reactions to the eclipse in a dark sky reserve.

      • Local Time: 3:13 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 2 minutes, 45 seconds

    • Long Point Provincial Park, Ontario: Situated on the northwest shore of Lake Erie, Long Point provides ample opportunities for birdwatching and natural exploration, enhanced by its designation as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

      • Local Time: 3:16 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes, 27 seconds

    • Hamilton, Ontario: Hosting its first totality since 1925, Hamilton offers a historic eclipse experience with organized events by the RASC's Hamilton Centre, likely attracting visitors from nearby Toronto.

      • Local Time: 3:18 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 1 minute, 50 seconds

    • Niagara Region, Ontario: Positioned as Canada's "ground zero" for the eclipse, the Niagara region provides convenient accessibility for millions of Canadians, promising impressive views along the southwest coast of Lake Ontario and the northeast coast of Lake Erie.

      • Local Time: 3:19 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes, 15 seconds (St. Catharines)

    • Kingston, Ontario: With its last totality until 2399, Kingston presents a rare opportunity for eclipse viewing along Lake Ontario, with organized events planned at various locations including Fort Henry and Browns Bay Beach.

      • Local Time: 3:22 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes, 2 seconds

    • Montreal, Quebec: Hosting its first total solar eclipse since 1932, Montreal will stage large-scale events at Parc Jean-Drapeau on St. Helen's Island, providing an urban viewing experience for city dwellers.

      • Local Time: 3:26 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 1 minute, 15 seconds

    • Mont-Orford, Quebec: Positioned within Parc National du Mont-Orford, this location offers scenic lookout points and access to Mont-Orford Ski Resort, attracting eclipse traffic from Montreal for an extended totality experience.

      • Local Time: 3:27 p.m. EDT

      • Duration: 3 minutes, 22 seconds


    Additional Tips

    • Ensure clear weather: Check the forecast and have a backup location in case of cloud cover.

    • Arrive early: Expect large crowds, especially in prime viewing locations.

    • Use proper solar filters for cameras and telescopes if you plan to photograph the eclipse or view it through an optical device.

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