APRIL 8TH 2024 IS THE GREAT AMERICAN TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE

The upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 is an astronomical event that millions of people will have access to view. This solar phenomenon occurrence happens when the moon completely blocks the sun, causing a temporary blackout during the day. Eclipses are not abnormal, there is at least one a year but the occurrence of a total solar eclipse over easy-to-access land is a rarity.  The next time we will see a similar path across the United States is the Summer of 2045 and that will reach totality at the very southern tip of Florida. This may be the only chance many have to see a total solar eclipse in their lifetimes and is an opportunity you do not want to miss. 

Visit our shipping guide to make sure you order your safe solar observing and imaging gear in time.  

Where and When to View the April 8th Total Solar Eclipse

The path of totality for the 2024 eclipse will pass over Mexico, the United States, and Canada, with the greatest duration of totality occurring in the northern United States. If you're planning to view the eclipse, it's essential to choose a location within the path of totality to get the best view.  Anywhere along the line of totality will have a chance to see the eclipse in full.  Plan and book early if you plan on being near any populated areas as hotels and campgrounds will fill up quickly.  Totality will last about 3-5 minutes depending on your viewing location.  

Here are some of the top locations to consider:

  • Texas  The path of totality will cross over parts of the Texas panhandle, offering a chance to experience the eclipse in wide-open spaces.  With typically clear skies and drier weather than other parts of the country, Texas is the hot spot for eclipse viewing.  Heading northward just west of San Antonio, east of Fort Worth and almost directly over the Dallas area, the eclipse will be passing near several large cities in Texas and totality will be fully visible from these areas.  
  • Arkansas & Southern Oklahoma - As the eclipse cuts a wide arch northeastward, the path of totality will pass over the farthest southern corner of Oklahoma and over the Little Rock and Hot Springs areas of Arkansas.  

North of Arkansas, typically wet and cool weather results in heavy cloud cover in early April which may mean less than ideal viewing conditions.  However, there is always the chance of clear skies and the eclipse will be passing over some larger cities and populated areas like Indianapolis, Indiana, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester, New York, and thousands of small towns and suburbs before finally reaching Canada and northern areas of Maine.  

The 2024 total solar eclipse is sure to be an unforgettable experience for those who are lucky enough to witness it. You're sure to be amazed by the temporary blackout caused by the moon passing in front of the Sun. Start planning your eclipse-viewing adventure now to ensure that you have the best experience possible!

What Time Will the Eclipse Be Visible? 

Wherever you plan to view from be sure to get there early and keep in mind timing for individual time zones.  If you're planning on staying mobile to find the clearest skies in your area, plan well in advance and stay safe while navigating as roads may be crowded.  The eclipse will reach the U.S. and Mexico border at 12:27pm CST on Monday April 8th.  Totality over the United States will be the greatest length here at 4 minutes and 27 seconds, reducing second by second until reaching a totality time of about 3 minutes in the northern parts of the country.  It will pass over the Texas/Oklahoma/Arkansas border area around 1:45pm CST reaching Indianapolis area by about 3:05pm EST.   The Buffalo, NY areas will see the start of the eclipse at about 3:15pm EST.  


How To View or Image An Eclipse

Solar Eclipse Glasses & Film

Comfortably and safely observe the total solar eclipse with a pair of certified and tested solar eclipse glasses, or make your own filter or viewer with solar film.  


Safety is the most important factor when viewing the Sun, but it can be done with the right equipment.  Tested and rated solar eclipse glasses are an inexpensive and safe way to view an eclipse and can be used by users of a wide range of ages.   For those who do not want to or should not use solar glasses such as young children, a solar pinhole projector is easy and fun to make.  If you're looking for a more detailed view, or want to image or video the eclipse, we have a variety of dedicated solar telescopes, imaging filters, visual filters, optics, and cameras available. 

For visual use, a safe solar filter combined with your telescope or binoculars is a great way to view an eclipse in detail.  Thousand Oaks Optical makes a wide range of solar filter sizes.  Use the chart below to find your telescope size and corresponding 1000 Oaks filter.  You can click on the filter part number to read more details about that individual filter and purchase.  

 

CLEAR APERTURE CELL O.D. Part #
40mm 1.50" 50mm 2.00" S-2000
45mm 1.75" 60mm 2.32" S-2325
50mm 2.00" 70mm 2.75" S-2750
60mm 2.37" 76mm 3.00" S-3000
60mm 2.37" 82mm 3.25" S-3250
80mm 3.15" 90mm 3.50" S-3500
80mm 3.15" 95mm 3.75" S-3750
80mm 3.15" 101mm 4.00" S-4000
90mm 3.50" 108mm 4.25" S-4250
101mm 4.00" 114mm 4.50" S-4500
101mm 4.00" 120mm 4.75" S-4750
101mm 4.00" 127mm 5.00" S-5000
101mm 4.00" 133mm 5.25" S-5250
114mm 4.50" 139mm 5.50" S-5500
127mm 5.00" 146mm 5.75" S-5750
127mm 5.00" 152mm 6.00" S-6000
127mm 5.00" 158mm 6.25" S-6250
127mm 5.00" 165mm 6.50" S-6500
152mm 6.00" 181mm 7.12" S-7125
152mm 6.00" 190mm 7.50" S-7500
152mm 6.00" 203mm 8.00" S-8000
177mm 7.00"
212mm 8.37" S-8375
177mm 7.00" 222mm 8.75" S-8750
203mm 8.00" 236mm 9.312" S-9187
203mm 8.00" 241mm 9.50" S-9500
203mm 8.00" 247mm 9.75" S-9750
203mm 8.00" 254mm 10.00" S-10000
203mm 8.00" 266mm 10.50" S-10500
228mm 9.00" 273mm 10.75" S-10750
254mm 10.00" 292mm 11.50" S-11500
254mm 10.00" 305mm 12.00" S-12000
254mm 10.00" 311mm 12.25" S-12225
279mm 11.00" 317mm 12.50" S-12500
254mm 10.00" 330mm 13.00" S-13000
304mm 12.00" 349mm 13.75" S-13750
317mm 12.50" 365mm 14.375" S-14375
317mm 12.50" 387mm 15.25" S-15250
355mm 14.00" 406mm 16.00" S-16000
355mm 14.00" 432mm 17.00" S-17000
355mm 14.00" 447mm 17.625" S-17625

Measure Twice, Shop Once

With high demand and limited supply, we cannot accept returns on solar filters purchased between February 1st and April 8th, 2024.  Take the time to carefully measure the outer diameter of your telesocpe body and compare to the measurements called out on the filters for proper fit.  Remember, your filter cannot be smaller than your telescope body.  Ideal sizing is between 2 and 10mm larger as the small gap can be shimmed with felt to provide a secure fit.  When in doubt, give us a call at 818.347.2270


White Light Solar Filters

White light and black poly solar filters are ideal for adapting to existing optics to see a detailed black-and-white or orange-toned image of the Sun.  Solar surface activity can be viewed with these filters in great detail.  Available in hundreds of sizes, you will want to be sure to carefully measure the outer diameter of your telescope or binoculars to get the right fit.  If you need help finding a filter, email us at [email protected] or call us at 818.347.2270.  

Solar Telescopes

Dedicated solar telescopes provide unparalleled views of the Sun, typically in beautiful red, orange and yellow tones.  Alternatively, Calcium K filters will provide a blue to purple view of the Sun which helps bring out other details.  There are simple solar telescopes like the Coronado PST that provide an easy and safe way to view the Sun for beginners and advanced users alike and are designed for visual use, and more advanced solar observing systems that are designed for solar imaging and videography.  If you are unsure of which telescope would best fit your needs, give us a call.  We're here to help! 


Imaging the Sun

If your goal is to image or video the eclipse, you'll want filters and equipment specifically geared to capturing the Sun with a camera. 

View with a Herschel Wedge

Herschel wedges are a great way to view the Sun, but should be used only with refractors as the heat generated by absorbed light can be damaging to reflector optics.  

Some Eclipse Viewing FAQ's

Are the Sun's rays focused during an eclipse? 

No.  Solar eclipses are caused by a shadow passing over the Earth caused by the Moon passing in front of the Sun.  This does not focus or strengthen the light of the Sun in any way though it may appear more brilliant at totality due to the contrast between the darkened sky and Sun.  Just as you would not want to look directly at or take pictures of the Sun at any time without a protective filter, the same would be true during an eclipse.  Regarding protecting your body and skin, take the same precautions you take on any other sunny day. 

Can my child use solar eclipse glasses? 

There is no age limit for who can wear a pair of solar eclipse glasses, but you know your child best.  They should be supervised at all times and be able to follow directions as glasses should never be removed while looking skyward.   Because eclipse glasses filter a great deal of light, your view may appear almost entirely dark except for the Sun.  At no point should glasses be lifted out of the way to locate the Sun. If your child would be tempted to pull glasses away when presented with a blacked-out view, they should not use them.   A fun alternative for kids who may fidget or be tempted to pull glasses off of their faces for a better view, is a solar projector.  You can find instructions on how to make your own here. 

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