One Year From Now New York Will Be Reveling In Eclipse-Mania

On April 8, 2024 New York City Will Experience Its First Total Solar Eclipse Since 1954

Total solar eclipse June 30, 1954 photo: M Waldmeier

Never look directly at an eclipse.

It was one of the things that was drilled into me in grade school. You’ll permanently damage your eyes. You can go blind. As a class we’ll make shoe box eclipse viewers.

Apparently those eclipses happening during my juvenile years were not the same type that will occur in 2024 – a total solar eclipse. All eclipses are not the same. New York eclipses over the previous 69 years were not the whole shebang, being either partial solar eclipses or lunar eclipses. The last total solar eclipse in New York was on June 30 1954, occurring many years before I was born. So I have never seen one of these.

At school I wanted to look at an eclipse directly but I’m glad I didn’t.  But, heck, if I was going to risk damaging my eyesight, it should have at least been for a total solar eclipse.

A total eclipse of the sun occurs when the new moon near perigee, or closest approach to earth, passes directly between sun and earth. The disk of the sun is blacked out by the disk of the moon and a brilliant corona bursts out around the dark circle.

Technically the 1954 eclipse achieved only 74% of totality in New York. The sunrise was 5:28 a.m. and dark clouds threatened to block the sky. At 6:30 a.m. the clouds were breaking up and depending upon your vantage point, you could see the eclipse. By the climax at 7 a.m. the clouds dissipated and most people awake in the city experienced the rare event. Not directly of course, but with dark glasses, special viewers or cameras. Before 1954, the last total eclipse of the sun in New York occurred January 24, 1925.

You will be hearing or reading a lot about this eclipse as we get closer to April 8, 2024.

Oh, and if for some reason you miss this one, you can see the next total eclipse in New York City on May 1, 2079.

That’s if you’re still here.

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