Rethinking the Eclipse Experience

From Terr Haute, Indiana -total, Photo: Jackie Keer
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Americans in every state had the chance to witness either a partial or total solar eclipse—and an estimated 31 million found themselves within the path of totality, or the region where viewers could experience the complete blockage of the sun.

Despite their relative frequency (approximately two to four times a year), the geographic path of totality is small. Consequently, for individuals in any given location, the opportunity to observe a total solar eclipse is an extremely rare event. To determine the states with the most people living in the path of totality for the 2024 solar eclipse, researchers identified the Census tracts in each state that overlap fully or partially with the totality path. Populations for the resulting Census tracts were then summed and divided by the state total population.

Here is a link to the complete results of the analysis, with data on over 1,500 Census places (cities, villages, boroughs, etc.) and all 15 states within the path of totality. Check the original report shared by Jake Lane at Captain Experiences .  Here is the original report

the most recent total solar eclipse visible in the U.S. took place in 2017, with the path of totality extending from Oregon to South Carolina. Prior to 2017, only two solar eclipses in the 20th century had totality paths that overlapped some portion of the United States. Looking ahead, the next coast-to-coast total solar eclipse won’t occur until 2045.

Compared to the 2017 total solar eclipse, the 2024 event boasted a wider and more populated path of totality. While the totality path in 2017 averaged 60–70 miles in width, the 2024 eclipse spanned approximately 110–120 miles.

moon eclipse
Last year, We drove to Kentucky from NJ. It was long drive to go like 15 hours, and took more than 20 hours to came back home. But it was worth it. Amazing event of my life. Never forget but at least I can share with you all. Photo by Jongsun Lee on Unsplash

A few personal stories:

A family gathering included a family of six flying  from Northern California and driving to Broken Bow, Oklahoma to stay in a private rented house with another family. The mother described the experience:“We did indeed see the eclipse. It was completely amazing and worth it. Caught a whole bunch of the sciency fun, saw Venus and maybe Mercury, saw solar flares, cheered along with the other family who was out watching the show, attempted to photograph it because we had a whole 4 minutes of totality, and then the show was over and the nighttime sounds stopped and the dawn sounds started and everything heated back up as we had our weird, middle of the sky dawn. It’s amazing and cool that we are lucky enough to live on a space rock with so many amazing phenomena.”

A woman in Chicago awoke on eclipse day, noted the weather was good and drove off to Terre Haute, Indiana where, along with other drivers, she pulled to the side of the road to view the total eclipse, and drove home again.  Seven hours well spent.

In a retirement community in northern California 48 residents gathered in an open space to observe the 32% coverage that could be seen with special glasses on. The way the moon’s position changed was interesting.  Viewing the sun shing through a colander with a bit out of the circle was fascinating.

From a retirement community in Northern California, Photo: Regan Johnson

A woman in Michigan was sure she did not have time to step outside to see the 98% coverage.  Looking out the window was so intriguing she stepped outside but had no glasses.  Across the street her neighbors beckoned her and she was blown away by the experience.

By Rina Hennes Sabes during the eclipse in Oak Park, Michigan

And thinking about this event two years in advance, two couples, one from each coast met up in Austin, Texas where they were part of an event attended by six hundred people organized by University of Colorado Emeritus Professor, Doug Duncan

Hurry now- you have two years to plan an eclipse trip to Spain.


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