Solar eclipse visible in Michigan on April 8

Learn about the upcoming solar eclipse and how to safely view it.

On Monday, April 8, the United States, as well as other parts of the world, will experience a solar eclipse. What is unique about this eclipse is that it is the first time since 2017 that the continental U.S. will be in the “path of totality.” The path of totality is a narrow band across the U.S. from Texas to Maine where there will be a total eclipse of the sun. While the total eclipse will be limited to a narrow band, the partial eclipse will be visible to the eastern half of the U.S., including Michigan. Visit the NASA 2024 eclipse page for more information and specific locations and times for the eclipse.    

What is a solar eclipse and how should you prepare for viewing a solar eclipse?

solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun and partially or totally blocks the sun’s light, lasting anywhere from several hours to just a few minutes. There are three types of eclipses that can occur: total, partial and annular (ring-like).

During a total eclipse, the moon, sun and Earth are in a direct line. The sky will become very dark as the moon’s shadow is on Earth, completely blocking out all sunlight. A partial eclipse occurs when the moon, sun and Earth are not in a perfect line and the sun appears to have a shadow over part of it. An annular eclipse happens when the moon is in its farthest point away from Earth and looks very small. In this case, the moon will not block out all sunlight, but instead looks like a dark disk on the sun.

If you are planning to view the solar eclipse, Michigan State University Extension reminds you there are some important safety considerations. Specialized eye protection, eclipse glasses or filters are required.  These special viewers need to comply with IOS 12312-2 international standards to avoid serious eye injury. For a fun, hands-on activity with youth that helps the understand how solar eclipses work, view the MSU Extension article, Exploring solar eclipses with youth.

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