On April 8, 2024, there will be a total solar eclipse. The Moon will cross paths with the Sun and completely block your view.
The eclipse will begin to be visible in Mexico. It will then cross the United States until leaving North America along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in Newfoundland, Canada. It will not be visible in Brazil.
But what makes the April 2024 solar eclipse so special?
According to NASA, this event will be different from the last total solar eclipses.
Scientists claim that the solar corona (its outermost layer) will be more visible than in the last total solar eclipse (in 2017). This is due to the greater solar activity currently observed.
And the 2024 eclipse will also be visible for about two minutes longer than the 2017 eclipse.
Eclipse chaser Polly White is one of the founders of the educational website Great American Eclipse, which offers up-to-date eclipse information, maps and animations. She says that, since the eclipse of 2017 and the annular solar eclipse of October 14, 2023, more people have become aware of the event in April this year. But there are other reasons that will make this eclipse special, according to her.
“I expect to see a large, dynamic solar corona with jets of energy (coronal mass ejections), solar prominences and a bright, active chromosphere,” explains White.
“And there is also a small possibility that a comet will be visible with binoculars during totality. It may be far from the sun during the eclipse, but it may be visible.”
After the total solar eclipse in April 2024, observers will only be able to see another one in 2044 — which makes this one even more attractive, according to her.
In addition to all this, the path of totality is also longer, which makes the eclipse visible to more people than the most recent total solar eclipse.
About 31.6 million people live within the 200-mile (322 km) path of totality, which is more than double the number of people who were able to see the last similar event. And even people who live in other places will be able to see the eclipse in some way.
“In April, 99% of United States residents will be able to see the total or partial eclipse from where they live,” explains NASA on its website. “All of the contiguous United States, plus some parts of Alaska and Hawaii, will experience at least a partial solar eclipse.”
And not just scientists and eclipse chasers are counting down the days to this long-awaited astronomical event.
Although more people can watch the total eclipse easily and without having to leave their cities than in previous years, experts believe there will be a spike in travel heading to the spectacle.
The Great American Eclipse website estimates that one in four American citizens must travel at the time of the eclipse, to stay within the path of totality on April 8. And with this perspective in mind, travel agents are helping travelers find where to stay to get the best view of the event.
Misty Belles, director of international relations at U.S.-based travel agency chain Virtuoso Travel, says it’s not difficult to find events to help travelers appreciate the eclipse, such as cruises that travel along the path of totality.
“We have seen some of the increased demand for south Texas and northern Mexico. These areas of the route are ready to see a spike in visitors,” she explains. “Interest has been growing for over a year as people prepare for this phenomenon, which will not hit the United States again for another 20 years.”
At the Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet, Texas, there will be a five-day music festival during the week of the eclipse. The event was called the Texas Eclipse Festival and will include presentations, art and experiences related to technology and space.
Ari Eisenstat, a researcher at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, will lead the event’s space program. He says the festival will be based on the idea of reminding people “that we are in space and we live on a planet.”
In addition to live music, the event will feature curated space experiences, a “future vision” zone, yoga and more. The idea is to bring Earth closer to space.
Eisenstat states that the event will include talks by 11 astronauts, including professionals from NASA and the companies Blue Origin and SpaceX.
Other festivals are expected to take place in the United States during eclipse week, such as Shadowfest in Bloomington, Indiana. In Jesieville, Arkansas, the 2024 Total Eclipse Festival will feature live music, camping, zip lining and crystal searching.
With so many potential observers this year, White advises everyone to wear ISO-certified eclipse glasses except during the period of totality. But, unfortunately, there are counterfeit, uncertified glasses on the market.
“We have evidence that there are many fake glasses that show certification,” she explains. Great American Eclipse recommends that people not purchase eclipse glasses from sites like Amazon. White points to the American Astronomical Society (AAS), which offers a list of safe suppliers so observers can keep their eyes open.
The next solar eclipse visible from Brazil will take place on October 2, 2024. It will be a partial eclipse, visible only in the center-south of the country.
Another solar eclipse will happen on February 6, 2027 and will be partially visible in almost all of Brazil, with the exception of the North region.
Read the original version of this report (in English) on the BBC Future website.