Mar 18

April 8, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse: the View from Southern Utah

On Monday morning, April 8, a solar eclipse will be visible throughout the continental United States. The path of totality will traverse 12 states from Texas to Maine. While so-called “totality” for this eclipse cannot be observed from Utah, the celestial event will be quite exciting for Utahns nonetheless, as the shadow of our Moon takes a big bite out of the orb of the Sun.

If you’re free to travel, consider a brief sojourn somewhere along the center line of the eclipse. Look here on the web for a helpful map.

For those who plan on observing the April 8, 2024 eclipse from the vicinity of Kanab, Utah, Stellar Vista Observatory will provide telescopic views from the parking lot of Kanab City Library, located at 378 N. Main Street. The celestial phenomenon begins at 11:15 AM and ends at 1:36 PM. At the midpoint of the eclipse the Moon will block nearly 60% of the Sun’s orb.

During a solar eclipse, the Moon passes between Earth and our star, blocking out its light. At the midpoint of a total eclipse like the one that will occur on April 8, our Sun will completely disappear from the sky revealing the ethereal glow of the Sun’s corona in eerie daytime twilight for just a few minutes in time. To see this rare phenomenon, one must observe from a point along the center line of the eclipse path at the exact right time; the moment of totality. If you miss this one, the next such event will not take place over North America until 2045!

Safety is critically important when observing an eclipse. First, NEVER look directly at the sun with your naked eye! Your eyes will sustain immediate and irreversible damage! Do not use sunglasses or makeshift combinations of viewing aids. To directly observe the sun safely, you must use a pair of approved solar eclipse glasses or an approved solar filter on a telescope.

In collaboration with Kanab City Library, Stellar Vista Observatory will host a free viewing of the eclipse just outside the library through the eyepiece of its new 70 mm Coronado Double Stack Solar Telescope. This specialized instrument is designed for safe solar observation and features two hydrogen alpha filters which together reveal some of the most dramatic and energetic activity emanating from the Sun including sunspots, solar flares, granularity and prominences. Eclipse glasses will be available for free, courtesy of Kanab Library and the Astronomy Society of the Pacific. We invite you to gather on the morning of April 8 to safely enjoy the spectacle!

Kanab’s nonprofit Stellar Vista Observatory acquired its solar telescope in part through a grant facilitated by the Kanab Stem Action Center. In addition, generous donations from residents of Kanab City and Kane County made the purchase possible. SVO is thankful to all who support its mission to provide experiences to observe, appreciate and comprehend what we can see in the skies over southern Utah.

Stellar Vista Observatory is an official solar eclipse ambassador member with NASA’s Night Sky Network, a nationwide coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing the science, technology, and inspiration of NASA’s missions to the general public.

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