The Great American Eclipse is Coming, Are You Ready?

Tacos & Tequila


On Monday, April 8th, the celestial event of the decade is coming to a sky near you. A total solar eclipse will darken a 115-mile wide path "path of totality" arcing across America, from Texas all the way to Maine. And guess what? It won’t happen again until 2044. Millions are expected to bear witness as the moon completely blots out the sun, turning day into an eerie twilight for a few marvelous minutes.

Our very own eclipse chaser, Founding Partner F. Ron Smith, is currently in Texas with 40 family members to soak in "totality" from a prime viewing spot just outside of Hunt. “Our science-geek (in the best way) family started planning this trip two years ago,” Tracy Smith shared.  "We've taken over an entire lodge for several days to savor this experience together. From babies (our cousins' kids) to a 90-year-old (my mom!), it will certainly be one for the family memory book."

Whether you find yourself on the path of totality or simply right at home where viewing will still be spectacular, get ready to have your mind blown. Not sure when and where to be? Here’s how to make the most of this North American eclipse extravaganza; don't miss it!

*Featured photo: NASA

Photos: Baily’s Beads (left), Diamond Ring (right) - NASA

The Opening Acts

While touted as a Great American Eclipse, the celestial theatrics actually begin with just a small bite taken out of the sun at first. Known as the partial phase, the moon slowly encroaches across the sun's disk over about an hour or so.

As totality nears, the world takes on an uncanny nighttime quality. Trees and streetlights inexplicably turn on, animals start chirping and roosting — all because the sun is being smothered by the dark silhouette of the moon. In these ominous final moments, keep a lookout for two fleeting effects:

Baily's Beads: Bright spots of sunlight shining through lunar valleys create a glistening ring around the blackening sun.

Diamond Ring: With just one final blazing point visible, the sun appears as a sparkling diamond ring before winking out completely.

Photo: NASA

Totality Achieved

Then the main event arrives…TOTALITY! In the U.S., the path of totality will start in Texas at 1:27pm CT and will end in Maine at 3:35pm ET (2:25pm CT). In those states, the periods of greatest darkness will reach up to 4 minutes, 26 seconds.

For those along the path, like the Smiths, you'll experience one of nature's most humbling moments. Here are the top 20 places to view it, including online through NASA. Day becomes night as the moon entirely covers the brilliant sun, creating a hole in the sky ringed by rays of the solar corona. While fleeting, it's an otherworldly sight you'll never forget.

Totality's Bookends

After those few precious minutes, the amazing visuals play once more in reverse. The diamond ring and Baily's beads reappear before the partial phases return and day resumes its regularly scheduled programming.

Photo: Alyn Wallace

Eclipse Edge

Those outside the path needn't feel completely left out either. A partial eclipse, where the moon obscures only a portion of the sun's disk, will be visible throughout North America during the cosmic crossing. Check out NASA’s guidelines for safely viewing the eclipse here

But fair warning, after sampling this aperitif, you'll likely be craving the full totality experience. The next total solar eclipse won't cross the continental U.S. again until August 2044. So start making plans now to chase down this spellbinding sight when it returns in a couple decades! 


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