Rare total solar eclipse crosses North America in April

On April 8, 2023, a rare total solar eclipse will cross North America, darkening the skies in the afternoon. This type of event doesn't occur often and the next one won't happen in the U.S. for another 20 years. The path of the eclipse will stretch across 15 states in the U.S. and parts of Mexico and Canada, starting around noon Central Time in Texas and after 2 p.m. Eastern Time in Pennsylvania. The eclipse will begin in the South Pacific Ocean and the Pacific coast of Mexico before crossing the U.S. and ending in the North Atlantic Ocean and Newfoundland.The moon will completely cover the sun, with the moon's shadow causing a temporary blackout of the sun's light. The path of totality, where the moon completely obscures the sun, will be 115 miles wide and should last for two to five minutes depending on the location. People can look at the eclipse by wearing special solar glasses that are thousands of times darker than standard sunglasses and comply with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. Standard sunglasses are not enough to protect against the harmful rays of the sun during an eclipse. It is also dangerous to look at the eclipse through a camera lens, telescope, or binoculars without the right protective equipment.

The last total solar eclipse in the U.S. took place in 2017, and the path of the upcoming April eclipse is twice as wide and is expected to last twice as long. The next annular solar eclipse, where the sun will form a "ring of fire" shape, is supposed to occur in 2024. Notably, the 2024 eclipse will occur on April 8, the same date as the 2023 eclipse.

Several cities in the path of the eclipse are planning celebrations, including Columbus, Indiana, where they are organizing downtown festivals with bands, vendors, and food trucks. Bell County, Texas, is expecting its population to double or even triple from tourists coming to view the phenomenon. Hotel rates along the route have also increased significantly.

The eclipse will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so make sure to wear your special eclipse glasses and look straight into the sky to enjoy this rare phenomenon.

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