Where will you be for the April 2024 total solar eclipse?
For most people in North America on April 8, 2024, a partial solar eclipse will be visible, with the moon appearing to take a chunk out of the sun over a few hours. However, if you’re within the roughly 115-mile (185 kilometers) path of totality, you’ll have the opportunity to catch a rare total solar eclipse, when the sun’s disk is completely blocked and an eerie twilight descends.
The all-important path of totality will pass through northwest Mexico, 15 U.S. states (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine) and five Canadian provinces (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland).
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Although you can see the event anywhere in the path of totality with clear skies, many eclipse chasers are seeking to share the experience with other enthusiasts.
“There are two completely different ways to experience a total solar eclipse,” Deb Ross, co-chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Eclipse Task Force and chair of the Rochester Eclipse Task Force, told Space.com. “You can have a ‘me’ eclipse on your own or with a few friends or family, or you can have a ‘we’ eclipse as part of a big crowd.”
Here are 10 fun observing events and festivals to experience April’s total solar eclipse with others.
1. Southern Illinois Crossroads Eclipse Festival
Location: Saluki Stadium; Southern Illinois University; Carbondale, Illinois (map)
Time and duration of totality: 1:59 p.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 9 seconds
There are few places on the planet as lucky as Carbondale, Illinois, which on Aug. 21, 2017, experienced totality and will do so again on April 8, 2024. You can join thousands of eclipse chasers for the Southern Illinois Crossroads Eclipse Festival at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Saluki Stadium, where Mat Kaplan, ex-host and creator of Planetary Radio, will host and guide. Expect talks and presentations, solar telescopes, many eclipse citizen-science projects, high-altitude-balloon launches, and a craft fair. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $5 for children.
2. Totality Over Texas
Location: Schreiner University; Kerrville, Texas (map)
Time and duration of totality: 1:32 p.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 23 seconds
Close to the centerline and Interstate 10 from San Antonio, Kerrville will be busy on eclipse day. Many will head for Louise Hays Park, where NASA will broadcast from the Kerrville Eclipse Festival “Dark in the Park,” but that’s not the only event in town. At nearby Schreiner University, the first university in the U.S. to experience totality, a special event is planned from April 4 to 8. It will include stargazing at Loftis Observatory, guest speakers, movies and food. At $2,500 apiece, tickets are pricey, but they include a four-night stay, 13 meals, all activities and more.
3. Eclipse Over Texas 2024: Live from Waco
Location: McLane Stadium; Waco, Texas (map)
Time and duration of totality: 1:38 p.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 12 seconds
If you’re seeking an organized experience with telescopes, astronomers and guided viewing (as well as a 5K run), then you’ll do no better than this event in a 45,000-capacity stadium. It’s being staged by the Flagstaff, Arizona-based Lowell Observatory, which hosted a huge event in Oregon in 2017, together with the City of Waco and Baylor University. The Discovery Channel will broadcast the event live. Tickets, which include ISO-certified solar glasses, cost $20 for adults and $10 for children; parking is $25.
4. Ground Zero Musicfest
Location: Mansfield Park Rodeo Arena, Bandera, Texas (map)
Time and duration of totality: 1:31 p.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 9 seconds
Amid much talk about price gouging and sold-out hotels, here’s proof that this eclipse does not have to be expensive. This five-day (April 5-9) festival in Texas Hill Country promises music, a rodeo, a car and truck show, a Discovery Dome from the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and a “globe of death” motorcycle stunt show (where stunt riders ride motorcycles inside a mesh sphere). It all takes place in Bandera, the self-proclaimed “Cowboy Capital of the World.” Tickets cost $250 for RVs and $100 for camping.
5. ROC The Eclipse Festival
Location: Rochester Museum and Science Center; Rochester, New York (map)
Time and duration of totality: 3:20 p.m. EDT; 3 minutes, 39 seconds
Several thousand people are expected to attend this three-day event (April 6-8) at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. At the largely free event, festivities will include science speakers, music, NPR Science Friday hands-on activities, solar telescopes, food trucks and, most importantly, Rochester’s famous 6-foot-wide (1.8 meters) eclipse glasses (as well as places to purchase smaller glasses). There will be two satellite events: one at Strasenburgh Planetarium on April 5, which will include guest speakers and planetarium shows, and a “Galactic Get Down” space-themed party on April 6.
6. Mont Mégantic Observatory
Location: ASTROLab, Mont-Mégantic Observatory, Mont-Mégantic National Park, Quebec (map)
Time and duration of totality: 3:28 p.m. EDT; 3 minutes, 28 seconds
A total solar eclipse rarely occurs directly above a famous astronomical observatory within an International Dark Sky Reserve, but that will happen on April 8, when Mont Mégantic Observatory is eclipsed. An event for 2,500 people is planned, including an outdoor stage, a giant animation of the eclipse’s progress on-screen and solar telescopes at the nearby ASTROLab museum. There will be silence during totality. Tickets include bus transportation to the site.
7. Portal Conscious Eclipse Festival
Location: Ecoaldea Sembrando Vida, Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico (map)
Time and duration of totality: 11:07 a.m. MST; 4 minutes, 25 seconds
Most international visitors to Mazatlán — the first place to experience totality and one of the most likely to have clear skies — will stay in big hotels and resorts. However, this festival offers a different experience, featuring off-grid camping, yoga and DJs. It will take place April 5-9 at an ecotourism resort called Ecovillage Sembrando Vida, near the beach just south of Mazatlán. Tickets cost $295.99.
8. The Whiteout
Location: Jay Peak Resort; Jay, Vermont (map)
Time and duration of totality: 3:26 p.m. EDT; 3 minutes, 32 seconds
Few dedicated eclipse chasers will head to the mountaintops of New England, where clouds are likely, but skiers and snowboarders are the target crowd for The Whiteout. Organized by Vermont’s Jay Peak Resort, the event will feature Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album performed by tribute band Pink Talking Fish. Tickets cost $365 per night for two people and $516 per night for a family of four.
9. Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis (map)
Time and duration of totality: 3:06 p.m. EDT; 3 minutes, 40 seconds
Venues for group viewing don’t come much bigger than the 250,000-capacity Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and NASA will be livestreaming from the giant venue. It will be the first time Indianapolis has experienced totality since the year 1204 and the last time until 2153. Infield parking is included with each ticket, which costs $15 per person.
10. KerrEclipse 2024 Folk Festival
Here’s another music festival in Texas Hill Country, but it’s usually staged each year for 18 days. In 2024, it will be slimmed down in duration (April 5-9) yet expanded in that the headline act will be a total solar eclipse. It’s close to Bandera and the path of totality’s centerline. Tickets cost $350 for adults and $75 for children and include concerts and camping.