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What can we expect from the solar eclipse?

The solar eclipse is right around the corner, and NASA says it'll be your last chance to see one in the U.S. until August 2044.
What can we expect from the solar eclipse?
Posted at 4:19 PM, Apr 05, 2024

If you hate Mondays, maybe the promise of a rare natural phenomenon will get you ready for the new week as the nation prepares for the upcoming total solar eclipse. NASA says it’ll be your last chance to see one in the U.S. until August 2044.

The interstellar dance is captivating the country with millions of Americans traveling to revel in the rarity on April 8.

According to NASA, a total eclipse happens when the moon completely blocks the face of the sun. You can see the whole show in what’s called the path of totality, a narrow strip that stretches from Texas to Maine, while the rest of the country will experience at least a partial eclipse on Monday.

But for some, bad weather could lead to an early curtain with meteorologists predicting potential storms or cloud cover, although there’s still time for the forecast to change. If weather cooperates, Mexico’s Pacific Coast will get the first sighting at around 2:00 p.m. Eastern, with the eclipse’s grand finale concealing Nova Scotia 1 1/2 hours later.

Expect stars and planets to shine bright, with temperatures dropping and some animals growing anxious or quiet.

As incredible of a sight it may be, scientists warn: Don’t look directly at the eclipse without specialized glasses.

“If you look directly at the sun, then they're invisible rays. So ultraviolet and infrared can burn your eyes,” said Chad Sosolik, a professor of physics and astronomy at Clemson University.

Flights across the country could be impacted Monday, with the Federal Aviation Administration warning of possible delays as aircraft and drones focus on the eclipse.  

There are potential roadway hazards too. An analysis published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found a 31% increase in traffic risks, on par with holidays like Thanksgiving, during the last eclipse in 2017, largely due to increased volume on the roadways. 

NASA says the eclipse will last for up to 4 1/2 minutes in parts of the country before disappearing.

SEE MORE: New York Yankees postpone game Monday due to solar eclipse

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