Saturday marks one year until total solar eclipse

The 2024 total solar eclipse is a year from Saturday.
Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 4:43 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – The 2024 total solar eclipse is a year from Saturday.

On April 8th, 2024 some towns in Missouri will be in the path of totality for the total solar eclipse.

Senior educator at the McDonnell Planetarium Eric Gustafson says an eclipse is when three or more astronomical objects become aligned.

“Things like this they are some of natures greatest displays,” Gustafson says. “I think they’re wonderful things that do bring us together and we can all enjoy it.”

Gustafson says total solar eclipses are more unique, where the moon passes in front of the sun.

“If you’re in just the right part of the path, you will see the moon completely obscure the sun,” Gustafson says.

The path of totality goes through parts of the St. Louis area including Farmington and Ste. Genevieve.

Other major areas in the path of totality in Missouri include Poplar Bluff and Cape Girardeau.

Plans are already underway for events next year in the path areas.

Missouri Eclipse Task Force chair Trish Erzfeld says they’ve been meeting with communities monthly for the last year to plan.

“It really opens up the opportunity for these small, rural communities to bring people into their communities to experience their museums and their natural areas and what’s unique and special about their area,” Erzfeld says.

Erzfeld says the task force is encouraging communities to have festivals and offer live music that weekend, since the eclipse will bring in large crowds.

“It can really be a boost to their economy,” Erzfeld says.

Gustafson says protecting your eyes is crucial during this time.

Gustafson says you should never look at the sun because it could cause temporary or permanent damage.

“To observe something like an eclipse you need to use special filters like these,” Gustafson says. “These are often called eclipse glasses. In particular, the filter material takes away so much sunlight that it makes it safe to look at.”

Gustafson says the only time you can take the glasses off is when totality is happening.

However, be careful where you buy these glasses.

Gustafson advises people to order directly from manufacturers, rather than third party sellers.

“Hold the glasses in front of you,” Gustafson says. “If you see anything through them, they’re not proper glasses. The only thing you should really see if you’re wearing them is the sun.”

The St. Louis Science Center says planning is also underway for events next April.

Leaders at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale have announced their plans for a four-day festival. The event will include workshops, Saluki-con, and a watch of the eclipse from the stadium.

Carbondale is on the center line for the April 8, 2024 eclipse. Total darkness will last for 4 minutes and 9 seconds. The eclipse will track from near Poplar Bluff to Carbondale.

More information on events for the 2024 total solar eclipse can be found here.

The last solar eclipse in our region happened on August 21, 2017.