HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Remember the great solar eclipse of 2017? It was a massive event that took place across much of the country. People had cookouts and booked hotels months or even years in advance just to ensure they'd be in a location that would see a total solar eclipse.
Today, April 8th marks the three-year point until the next solar eclipse moves across portions of the United states.
What is a solar eclipse? A solar eclipse happens when, at just the right moment, the moon passes between the sun and Earth. This creates a shadow effect blocking the light of the sun from reaching the earth. It can cast a location into darkness in the middle of the afternoon.
There are a couple different versions of a solar eclipse. The first is a total solar eclipse. A total solar eclipse is only visible from a small area on Earth. The people who see the total eclipse are in the center of the moon’s shadow when it hits Earth. The sky becomes very dark, as if it were night. For a total eclipse to take place, the sun, moon and Earth must be in a direct line.
The second type of solar eclipse is a partial solar eclipse. This happens when the sun, moon and Earth are not exactly lined up. The sun appears to have a dark shadow on only a small part of its surface.
The solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 will travel from the SW to the NE. Unlike the last solar eclipse which crossed the entire Continental United States, this one will exclude almost the entire western half of the United States.
The Tennessee Valley will not be in the path of totality. Regardless of that, we'll still get a pretty cool sight and frankly if you're down for a vacation we will not be terribly far from many locations that will be in the path of totality.
In the Tennessee Valley the Partial Solar eclipse will begin at around 12:42 PM April 8, 2024. Maximum coverage will occur at 2:02 PM on the same day. Since we here in the Tennessee Valley will not be in the path of totality, we can expect maximum coverage of about 90%. Still pretty impressive and still something to look forward to.