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Total Solar Eclipse

Eclipse Facts & Stats

What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

A total solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon that occurs during a new moon when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are aligned in a straight line. The Moon completely covers the Sun, blocking its light, and casting a shadow on Earth. This results in a brief period of darkness, known as totality, for the regions within the Moon's shadow. The next total solar eclipse in the US will be seen in 2044, over North Dakota and Montana. In 2045, a total solar eclipse will cross from California to Florida.

What to Expect


To enjoy the full experience of an eclipse, clear skies and a view of the Sun and Moon are needed. However, even under cloud cover, the distinct eerie daytime darkness associated with eclipses is noticeable.

Duration & Timing

The total eclipse lasts for a relatively short time, usually a few minutes, at any specific location within the path of totality. The duration depends on various factors, including the geometry of the eclipse and the observer's location. 


Shadow Bands: Characterized by rapidly moving dark bands separated by white spaces, shadow bands become visible on building sides or the ground just before and after totality. Though faint and challenging to photograph, these bands add a distinctive element to the eclipse experience. 

Baily’s Beads effect, as the Moon makes its final move over the Sun during a total solar eclipse
The Baily's Beads effect is seen as the Moon makes its final move over the Sun 

Baily's Beads: As the Moon progresses across the Sun, points of light known as Baily's Beads emerge along its edges. These are sunlight rays streaming through the Moon's valleys, creating a captivating visual effect. The diamond ring effect, signaling the end of solar eclipse totality 


The "diamond-ring effect" dazzles with a luminous ring of glittering diamonds at the beginning and end of totality in a total solar eclipse.

Diamond Ring: Gradually, Baily's Beads diminish, giving way to a single bright spot along the edge of the Moon's shadow, resembling a giant diamond ring formed by the Sun's atmosphere. 


A total eclipse occurs when the moon appears as the same size as the sun and blocks the entire disk from Earth

Totality: When the Moon has completely blocked the Sun’s direct rays, viewers may momentarily remove their glasses. During totality, observers may have the chance to witness the chromosphere, a pinkish circle around the Moon, and the corona, streams of white light representing the Sun's outer atmosphere.

Brightening: As the Moon continues its journey, brightening occurs on the opposite side from the initial appearance of the diamond ring. This is the Sun's lower atmosphere emerging from behind the Moon, prompting viewers to again wear protective glasses.

Final: Once your eyes are protected, you can resume watching the final stages of the eclipse, with the reappearance of the diamond ring, Baily's Beads, and shadow bands, leading to the eventual full visibility of the Sun. 

For more on the stages of the eclipse, visit NASA’s What to Expect page

Photography credit for the above photos to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


A total solar eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024. It will begin over the South Pacific Ocean, before passing through Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

  • The eclipse will begin in Oswego at 2:08 pm EST, as the Moon begins to block the Sun. 
  • Over the next 73 minutes (one hour and 13 minutes), the Moon will continue to move in front of the Sun.
  • Totality begins at 3:21:43, and will last for 3 minutes, 30 seconds.
  • Maximum coverage of the Sun is expected at 3:23:28 with totality ending at 3:25:13.
  • The Moon will continue to uncover the Sun in a second partial phase. 
  • For Oswego viewers, the eclipse will end at 4:34 pm.

Total Solar Eclipse

Learn about what is taking place at SUNY Oswego during the event.

Total Solar Eclipse