Your guide to April’s total solar eclipse in Wisconsin

Credit: NASA

By Christina Lorey

April 5, 2024

On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross North America–passing over Mexico, America, and Canada. Hoping to catch it? Read on…

🌘 What Is It? A total solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and earth, completely blocking the face of the sun. The sky will darken in the middle of the day, as if it’s dawn or dusk.

🌘 When Is It? The eclipse will start over the South Pacific Ocean and cross North America beginning at 11:07 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. our time!)

🌘 Where Is It? The path of the direct eclipse will cross Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine before crossing into Canada just before 4 p.m. our time. You can find a full city-by-city timeline here!

While Wisconsin is not on what’s known as the path of totality, locals should be able to witness a partial eclipse like most of the country.

🌘 Why Do We Care? While catching an eclipse is fun and different for average people like you and me, the event is a rich research opportunity for astronomers, astrologers, and scientists, who normally can’t see the corona (the Sun’s outer atmosphere, not the beer) because the Sun’s surface below it is so much brighter. During a total solar eclipse, the corona becomes visible, offering researchers the unique opportunity to study it.

MORE: NASA Selects 5 Experiments for 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

🌘 Is This Safe? Yes, but be careful! Just like any other day, staring directly at the sun can quickly and permanently damage your eyes. The only time it’s safe to look is during the brief “total phase” of an eclipse. It’s important to note that it’sNOT safe to look directly at the eclipse unless you’re wearing “eclipse glasses” or using a handheld solar viewer. It’s pretty easy to make your own! Here’s how.

🌘 When’s the Next One? Not for another 20 years! After April’s, the next total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. will be on August 23, 2044. However, an annular solar eclipse will cross North, Central, and South America on October 14. During that kind of eclipse, the moon is at its farthest point from Earth, so it doesn’t completely block out the sun–instead it creates a “ring of fire” in the sky.

You might remember the last total solar eclipse that happened on August 23, 2017–but you probably don’t remember it like this! The International Space Station crossed the path of the eclipse three times as it orbited above the continental United States at an altitude of 250 miles. Click here to see what the six astronauts onboard saw!

READ MORE: Why Total Solar Eclipses Are So Rare


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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