It's an astronomical anomaly!

You’d Better Get Glowing! How to Prep for the 2024 Solar Eclipse

The multiple phases of a total solar eclipse

Very few celestial events can hold a candle to the awe and beauty of a total solar eclipse 🌞

 It’s a rare spectacle to behold that reminds us of our place in the universe while simultaneously reflecting humankind’s ability to gather and marvel together. Thanks to technological advances, all it takes is a simple set of glasses to catch the best views of that star-struck wonder.

But digging through pages of information to try to find the best events celebrating this monumental event, where to find your eclipse glasses, and when exactly this shindig will go down is another matter entirely. Fortunately for you, we’ve rounded up all the local 2024 total solar eclipse information in one handy spot.

So grab your notepads and prep your planner cause you won’t want to miss an ounce of this.

An image showing a compilation overlay of eclipse phases

What Is a Solar Eclipse?

According to NASA 🚀, a solar eclipse occurs when all the stars, moons, and planets align so that the view of the sun is obstructed as our moon passes in front of it, casting a shadow on Earth. And if you’ve ever witnessed the kind of eclipse-level darkness at midday, then you know just how bizarre (and spectacular) it can be.

Solar eclipses happen more often than most of us realize - unless you’re really into astronomy 🌌 On average, some degree of solar eclipse occurs between two and five times per year - that’s about one every 18 months. But the path of the eclipse will vary, and it’s virtually impossible to see each one unless you travel around the world each time. Some eclipses hover around the equator, while others grace the Eastern part of the world. For the most part, only a small handful have been viewable from Southern Indiana.

The path of the 2024 total solar eclipse

Here’s What’s Special about the 2024 Eclipse

And yet, some occur right in your backyard. That’s just one part of why the 2024 eclipse is so special for our neck of the Midwest. This year will mark the first time since 1869 that the greater Evansville Region will be able to witness a solar eclipse in all of its star-studded beauty. On April 8th, 2024, at approximately 2:02 PM, the greater Evansville Region will be temporarily cloaked in darkness for just over three minutes.

But that’s not all; in addition to being nearly perfectly placed over Evansville, this year is also set to be the first total solar eclipse since 2017. In fact, total solar eclipses only occur about once every 18 months but your odds of being able to see it are fairly low, considering 70% of our planet’s surface is ocean. 

That means being able to see it from your own front porch is one of those rare treats, kinda like when you snap that selfie perfectly on the first take. 📸

Total eclipses are different from partial eclipses because they’re much rarer. NASA defines a total solar eclipse as the view of the sun when the moon passes perfectly between the sun and the Earth, leaving only a small corneal ring of light around the outside. 

While partial eclipses are not to be undervalued, there’s just something about a total solar eclipse that leaves you star-struck. Dark like midnight, except it’s midday? Now that’s a sight to see!

How Can I View the Eclipse?

Viewing the eclipse is pretty straightforward, with one exception: never stare directly into the sun unless you have the proper viewing equipment. Remember, even though the darkness of the eclipse might leave you feeling like a superhero, looking directly at the eclipse can cause serious (and permanent) damage to your eyes. Instead, you can use special eclipse viewing equipment and techniques to see the entire heavenly spectacle. 

The easiest way to ensure a safe viewing experience is to get yourself a pair of eclipse glasses. Regardless of where you purchase them, check for an ISO 12312-2 certification standard. This indicates that the transmittance of light will be reduced to a point where we mere mortals can look directly into the sun. 

You can also get your Icarus on with eclipse viewer cards or a solar filter on a camera, telescope, or binoculars. But if all else fails, you can also use pinhole projection to look at the sun indirectly. Learn more about pinhole projection for safe eclipse viewing here.

Where Can I Get Eclipse Glasses Locally?

Getting your eclipse glasses early is the best and easiest way to make sure this superterrestrial event is one to remember. But why wait on shipping when you can easily (and affordably!) find eclipse glasses at any of these local retailers & businesses:

Downtown Evansville EID
Evansville Museum of Arts, History, & Science
Evansville Wartime Museum
Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (Central Branch)
Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden
Nick Nackery
River City Coffee & Goods
Vanderburgh County 4-H Center
Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve

Pro Tips for Making This Eclipse a Celebration to Remember

Alright, so you’ve got your glasses and requested the time off for the big day, but you’re wondering how you can get the most out of this momentous occasion. Here are a few pro tips to make sure this astronomical event is one to remember:

Make a day of it: Why not take the day and join in on some of our favorite local eclipse events? From concerts to picnics, you can join in on any of these events across the greater Evansville Region
Pack some snacks: You’d bring popcorn to the movies, so why not bring snacks to the eclipse viewing? Heck, while you're at it you might as well pack your own tunes, too!
Bring your camera: Documenting the wonder of a total solar eclipse is a privilege that very few humans will get. Make sure you bring your special solar filters to get the best results!
Get comfy: Lawn chairs? Check! Picnic blanket? Check! Pillows for laying back and chillaxing with a view? Check, check, and check! Wherever you plan on viewing the eclipse this year, pack things that’ll make viewing easy and comfortable.
Sharing is caring: When in doubt, sharing is caring - and the same goes for this event. Gather ‘round with friends or family for an eclipse viewing event. Whip up some eclipse trivia and fun facts to test your knowledge. Whatever you choose, it’s magical wonders like eclipses that remind us that almost everything is better when it’s done together.

Plan Your Eclipse Festivities & Celebrate the Celestial Event in Evansville!

Come one, come all to the biggest heavenly event of 2024. Prep your snack packs, lawn chairs, and eclipse glasses because this celestial event will leave you feeling star-struck.

Heck, why not make a day of it and check out the cluster of local eclipse events that can make this once-in-a-lifetime day shine bright in your memories like a supernova?