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This Spring’s Solar Eclipse

Leah Ally

Volume 4 Issue 4

May 29, 2024

This Spring’s Solar Eclipse

Image Provided by Elaine Ching

On April 8th, an awe-inspiring phenomenon crossed a swath of the United States, captivating millions of Americans in hopes of experiencing it. Referred to as a total solar eclipse, this rare event occurs during a new moon phase when the sun is blocked by the moon, or in other words, the moon’s shadow falls on Earth. This spectacle reminds so many of the vastness of our universe and what makes our solar system special. While it may seem simple, there are numerous scientific, cultural, and spiritual significances surrounding this extraordinary phenomenon.  

As previously mentioned, a total eclipse occurs when the Moon completely covers the Sun, plunging an area referred to as “the path of totality” into darkness for a brief but special moment. The alignment of these celestial bodies creates a visual display with the sun’s corona shimmering around the edges of the Moon’s silhouette (Zeiler, 1). This allows scientists and astronomers to study the Sun’s outer atmosphere and to gather data on solar activity and magnetic fields. Regarding cultural perspectives, solar eclipses have been viewed as powerful omens, symbols of transformation, and cosmic events that bridge the earthly and celestial realms. Ancient civilizations often interpreted solar eclipses as signs of divine intervention, heralding changes in leadership, fortunes, and the world’s natural order. In modern times, solar eclipses continue to captivate our imagination, inspiring awe and wonder of the universe. For many belief systems, solar eclipses hold spiritual significance, symbolizing moments of introspection, renewal, and spiritual awakening (Whitcomb). The alignment of the Sun, Moon, and Earth during an eclipse is often seen as a potent symbol of unity, balance, and cosmic harmony. Some cultures view solar eclipses as opportunities for meditation, prayer, and connecting with the divine energies that permeate the universe. 


The April 8th total solar eclipse path occurred from about 2:27 p.m. to 3:35 p.m. Eastern time. The predicted path of the eclipse was from Mexico through the U.S. to the coast of Canada. Some states in the path of totality include Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine (Dixon, 1). This recent solar eclipse was compared to the 2017 “Great American Eclipse” with a path of totality that spanned from the Pacific to the Atlantic Coast and was the first to do so since 1918. Those who planned on viewing the eclipse had to take necessary actions to get the best views possible while staying safe. Foremost, acquiring eclipse glasses is mandatory. They have special filters that block out harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiation from the Sun, as well as intense visible light. These glasses protect your eyes from potential damage and allow someone to directly look at the sun safely. It is safe to say many viewers were looking to seize the phenomenon on camera, however intense light is extremely harmful even for a camera lens which is why special-purpose solar filters should be purchased to avoid irreversible damage. It is best to purchase ISO-certified-safe equipment to ensure reliable gear is used. Astronomers predict that a total solar eclipse will not occur until at least 2044, which explains the rarity of seeing such an event unfold.   

This year’s solar eclipse was bound to be the most viewed astronomical event in American history thus far. Whether witnessed or not, it is fascinating to learn about why certain events occur, especially cosmically; it is important to understand the many significances of an eclipse and what it means in a spiritual, cultural, and scientific context.  



Sources: Solar eclipse 2024 is next week: Everything you need to know ( 

                  Total Solar Eclipse 2024 US — Great American Eclipse  

'Zeus made night from mid-day:' Terror and wonder in ancient accounts of solar eclipses | Space 

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