Solar Eclipse Guide 2024

2024 is the year of the eclipse! After traveling to see the total solar eclipse in Hopkinsville, KY, in 2017, I knew I absolutely had to be in totality for the one in 2024 too. Seeing totality was a true highlight of my entire life. It IS worth it to travel to totality if you at all possibly can. You will not have the same experience if you are not within totality. The sky will not turn black. You will not see the stars (or the possible comet). You will not see the diamond ring. You will literally just feel like it got a little dimmer and that you can see a bite out of the sun with your eclipse glasses on...that's it. GO TO TOTALITY.

Luckily we currently live in a city that is receiving nearly 4 minutes of totality, Columbus, IN. If the weather plays nicely, we won't even have to leave our backyard.

Please come join us here if the weather is clear. If it's cloudy, we will plan to drive day-of to somewhere along the path with a better forecast. 


Eclipse Date: April 8, 2024 (Monday)

Timing: Partial phase begins 1:50pm EST and totality will start at roughly 3:05pm EST depending how close to totality you are (the earliest in IN is 3:02pm in Vincennes, and here in Columbus it will start at 3:05pm EST)

Where: Use this map or this Google Maps one to see the path of the eclipse. There are 3 lines: the one in the center is center totality and the ones on the outsides show out to where you will be able to see the true total eclipse. If you're outside those lines, you will NOT see totality. BE INSIDE THE LINES!


Here are things you might want to think about:

1. Get your eclipse glasses now! 

I would suggest not relying on getting them for free somewhere like a lot of places offered in 2017. Now everyone knows how cool this experience will be and they might run out before you get them. You HAVE to wear glasses to look at the sun pre- and post- totality (you will take them off during totality). If you don't, you WILL ruin your eyesight. Watching the sun slowly get eaten by the moon is really fun so you won't want to miss that part, which you can't watch without the glasses. 

I bought these last year and they worked great for the partial annular eclipse back in October: (I got a 10 pack since I'm expecting to share with family for this eclipse, and that way if someone accidentally touches the film we have backups.)

Please make sure you're buying from a reputable source. Lunt, Celestron, Celestial Optical, etc. - companies that actually exist - are your best bet for real solar filter glasses. Yes, you might pay a couple bucks more for the name brand, but it is 100% worth the piece of mind that you're getting a real filter.

PS. If you still have glasses from 2017, they are expired at this point. You should buy new ones. Don't risk your eyesight over just a few dollars.


2. Get solar filters for your cameras

If you're planning to take pictures where you zoom in at ALL on the sun, you also will need a filter. (This is true anytime you're taking a photo of the sun, actually.) Even for your phone, yes. Otherwise your camera sensor is going to get ruined just like your eyes would. I like to buy solar filter sheets and then cut them (if needed) and rubber band them to all the lenses I'm planning to use, instead of buying filters that screw onto the lenses. (I seem to have broken every filter thread on every lens I own. I am the problem. You do what works for you.) This year I will probably try to build myself some more sturdy filters instead of rubber banding. Ideally, your filter will be totally flat over your lens so there are no wrinkles to ruin your shot. 

I have one 3x3 inch and two 8x8 inch sheets from Thousand Oaks Optical which have been great for me (I just bought new 8x8in sheets for this eclipse). You should do your prep at least several days before (cut and rubber banding or building filter holders) for as many lenses as you can so you don't have to mess with it day-of, when you have lots of other things happening.

My 8x8in is here: and my 3x3in is here: 

I just use an extra pair of eclipse glasses when I want to take a picture with my phone camera and hold it over the camera lens. Depending on your camera situation, this might be enough for you too (but remember to use an EXTRA pair, not the one that is protecting your own eyesight).

3. Find out how long you will be in totality for

Remember, you HAVE to be within the band of totality in order to see the full eclipse. And in that band, the closer you can be to the center line of totality, the longer your totality eclipse experience will be. We live about 20 miles south and west of the center line and will get about 3min 49sec of totality at our house. Going those 20 miles north to Franklin (for example) would get us about 12 more seconds of totality, or driving 15-ish miles west to Nashville would get us about 9 more seconds. The maximum totality in Indiana will be about 4min 5sec in Vincennes. Where we watch from will be determined by cloud cover, so it's good to have some knowledge of what the other areas within a 1 or 2 hour drive will get.

For reference, totality times for several cities that my friends are in here in Indiana:

Columbus: depending where in town you are, between 3 min 49 sec and 3 min 37 sec (be either farther west or farther north along I-65 to get more time)

Nashville: 3 min 58 sec

Bloomington: 4 min 2 sec

Ellettsville: 4 min 3 sec

Spencer: 4 min

Greencastle: 3 min 19 sec

Indianapolis: 3 min 49 sec (again, where you are in Indy will matter; farther south will get more)

Greenwood: 3 min 59 sec

Franklin: 4 min 2 sec


Look up your city here for a rough estimate:

Or use the first map above to zoom in & click on your address for more precise information:




Other Prep to Think About Now

1. Fill up your gas tank before the day of the eclipse! That way you can drive several hours if you need to find clear skies, without needing to think about gas. Also have snacks (things like ClifBars, water, oranges, etc) and other supplies in the car for everyone in case you get stuck in traffic or restaurants are packed. Accept that there is going to be a TON of traffic.

2. Charge every single camera and external battery you own, and remember to pack them. (If you don't have an external battery pack already, it wouldn't be a bad idea to pick one up!)

3. Same for memory cards and phone storage...clear it all off! Don't have to worry about this while you're trying to watch the eclipse or take photos of it, and yourself, family, and friends that day.

4. If you're wanting to take photos, start learning how to do that now. Get any other gear you need (tripod, remote shutter). Watch tutorials. Read about what to expect. In my opinion, the Photo Pills huge write up/tutorial is the best all in one resource.

5. If you don't need to travel last minute for weather, and you took the day off, have games or something else to do to pass the time, especially if you're *not* a photographer (your photographer friends are going to be busy enjoying/stressing out trying to capture this event). A ton of places are offering entertainment on site. I used the hours in Hopkinsville to do some plein air painting which was a lot of fun (and I made some friends that way; I went alone). Most cities in the totality path are doing *something*. Some are still planning what to do and some are well established already (and some in between). I imagine we'll see a ton of things start to pick up now that we're through the holiday season and this is the Big Thing about to happen. I will try to do a round up soon of what the cities listed above are doing.

6. Be prepared to possibly get emotional about the whole thing. I very unexpectedly burst into tears when the sun disappeared. Just let yourself feel whatever it is you're feeling. It is an incredible experience.


Some Good Resources

Here's a non-comprehensive list of great resources covering the eclipse I've personally been using:

Eclipse 2024 website

2024 US Total Solar Eclipse Discussion Group 

Astronomer Dean Regas

Cincinnati Observatory

Solar Eclipse Guide 2024 Solar Eclipse Guide 2024 Reviewed by Maria on 9:41:00 PM Rating: 5

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