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Phases of the sun during a solar eclipse

Total Solar Eclipse

The eclipse will take place

April 8, 2024

 
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At SUNY Oswego, we embrace the opportunity for scientific discovery and wonder. We are excited to provide our community with a variety of student research activities, outreach efforts, and events in conjunction with the total solar eclipse. Oswego, NY is a great location to view the eclipse and learn about its significance!

Oswego Projects and Events Rice Creek Observatory Total Solar Eclipse safety

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.

Oswego, NY, is located directly in the path of totality for the total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024!

Interactive Syracuse area map

Events

Quick Facts

Total Solar Eclipse

This 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.

Annular Eclipse

The Moon appears smaller than the Sun, and a ring of sunlight is visible around the edges of the Moon. This occurs when the Moon is at a farther point in its orbit, and it doesn't completely cover the Sun.

Path of Totality

The narrow path on Earth's surface where the total solar eclipse is visible is called the path of totality. Observers outside this path witness a partial eclipse, where only a portion of the Sun is covered.

Totality

Totality is when the Moon completely covers the Sun. The sky becomes dark, bright stars may be visible, and the temperature may drop. Nocturnal wildlife may awaken, while non-nocturnal wildlife may think it’s time to sleep.

Solar Corona

The Sun's outer atmosphere, called the solar corona, is typically invisible to us due to the much brighter surface of the Sun below it. However, a total solar eclipse presents a rare opportunity to see the corona.

Looking at the Eclipse

Viewers can momentarily remove their eclipse glasses when the Moon completely blocks the surface of the Sun. A total solar eclipse is the only type of solar eclipse when this is safe.

Timing

  • 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.

Eclipse timing in Oswego

Safety

In-person distribution and sales of eclipse glasses will begin on Monday, March 18th at the Marano Center Box Office. Distribution will take place Monday through Friday 10am to 4:30pm, while supplies last. One free pair per SUNY Oswego student, faculty, or staff member. Additional glasses for Oswego personnel or glasses for the public can be purchased for $3.00 per pair. 

A group of people wearing protective glasses as they view an eclipse

It's crucial to use proper eye protection while viewing all phases of a solar eclipse, before and after totality!

The Sun can burn the retinas in the eyes. Looking directly at the Sun without proper eye protection, even for a few seconds, can cause serious eye damage or blindness. Safe eyewear options include eclipse glasses or a special solar filter. When purchasing eclipse glasses, they should have International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 12312-2 certification to ensure you have adequate eye protection. See a list of suppliers provided by the American Astronomical Society

Please note, regular sunglasses of any kind will not properly protect your eyes! It is safe to look directly toward the Sun only during the few minutes of totality, when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face.

Don’t neglect your skin! The sun is very bright throughout an eclipse. Viewers watching an entire eclipse can be exposed to direct sunlight for hours. Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen, a hat and protective clothing to prevent skin damage.

Photography

Looking at the bright Sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope can instantly cause serious eye injury. 

Use a specialized solar filter for your camera. Once the Moon completely covers the Sun during totality, you can remove the filter to see the Sun's outer atmosphere, known as the corona. To help keep your camera steady and avoid blurry shots, attach it to a tripod. Using a delayed shutter release timer allows you to capture shots without causing any camera shake.

Look up, down, and all around. In addition to photographing the sun, be sure to capture the changing environment. As the Moon moves in front of the Sun, eerie shadows will creep across the landscape. Natural pinholes will be created as light filters through overlapping leaves in trees. Be sure, too, to snap pictures of the people around you, capturing their emotions and the overall experience of watching the eclipse.

Read more photography tips from NASA on how to capture the total solar eclipse or NASA's Smartphone Photography PDF. 

What to Expect

Weather

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

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.

Stages

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

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

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.

Solar eclipse totality

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

Eclipse Projects 

The university will host projects including scientific discovery, educational awareness and public involvement.

National Eclipse Ballooning Project

SUNY Oswego has been a research partner in the National Eclipse Ballooning Project, supported by a grant from NASA and the National Science Foundation. We will continue this work during April’s total solar eclipse. Student teams will launch balloons with radiosondes into the stratosphere at regular intervals to measure atmospheric phenomena under rare conditions. A student-faculty team conducted similar research in fall 2023 in New Mexico during an annular eclipse. Meteorology and physics faculty serve as mentors on this project.

Planetarium

Shows in Oswego’s unique planetarium throughout the day will introduce visitors to the many fascinating aspects of the eclipse. The recently upgraded planetarium provides state-of-the-art educational experiences from knowledgeable presenters.

Lectures

A variety of lectures in the Shineman Center will provide educational insights from experts, including from SUNY Oswego’s faculty as well as such institutions as Yale University, the University of Glasgow and Ohio State University. The Shineman Endowed Fund supports four of these speakers

Academics

In classrooms, eclipses will help inform the Honors 300 class “Non-Western Foundations of Science” course and Astronomy 101.

In addition to its integration into science and other STEM coursework, the rare event will provide lessons for student journalists as well. A broadcast journalism course titled “Covering the Eclipse” will provide opportunities for storytellers to learn more about the science behind the eclipse and how to convey it well to a variety of audiences.

A Shineman Endowed Grant is funding the work of students - four on research projects related to the eclipse/outreach and two on planetarium outreach. Three students from Physics and Atmospheric and Geological Sciences - two of whom have NASA internships - are working on gravity waves generated during the eclipse with Jie Gong of NASA. In addition, two teams of computer science students are working on user-interfaces for gravity wave programs for future easy use. And, SUNY Oswego faculty members are conducting a variety of ongoing educational outreach to area schools.

Outreach and Community Involvement

Academic Departments

SUNY Oswego’s Physics, Chemistry, Biological Sciences and Math departments will provide a variety of outreach programs and demonstrations for visitors of all ages in the Shineman Center.

Rice Creek Field Station

Rice Creek Field Station will host programming from 9 a.m. through the time of the eclipse, including availability of nature trails, children's activities, wildlife observation, use of telescopes and a relaxed setting for viewing.

Admissions Office

SUNY Oswego’s Admissions Office will run a special informational program with campus tours, while inviting visitors to stay around to observe the total eclipse from our spectacular lakeside location.

Doppler on Wheels

The Doppler on Wheels network, run by the Center for Severe Weather, will have one of its cutting-edge mobile Doppler radar trucks on site to collect data, work with meteorology classes and host opportunities for viewing by the public. This visit has NSF funding pending.