Enamoured by an Eclipse! What makes today’s Surya Grahan so rare


The first solar eclipse of 2024 is set to occur today. Although not observable from India, this total solar eclipse will sweep across North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

Such eclipses are exceptionally rare for any given location, with Royal Museums Greenwich noting that once a place witnesses one, it could be around 400 years before the next occurrence. 

Today’s eclipse is a total solar eclipse, which is rare because it requires precise alignment between the sun, moon, and Earth, according to NASA.

During this, the moon must be positioned directly between the Earth and the sun, blocking out the sun’s light. However, because the Moon’s orbit around the Earth is slightly tilted compared to Earth’s orbit around the sun, this alignment does not occur frequently. 

During a total solar eclipse, the sky will darken, resembling dawn or dusk. If weather conditions permit, watchers within the eclipse’s path can see the sun’s corona, its outer atmosphere, which is typically veiled by the sun’s brightness. 

Today’s solar eclipse will start at 9:12 pm IST and the totality (when the sun is fully covered by the moon) will begin at 10:08 pm and last until 2:22 am IST on April 9.

In Pacific Time (PT), totality will start around 11:07 am on April 8 along the Pacific coast of Mexico. The eclipse will move across North America, ending near Maine around 1:30 pm PT.

Will Solar Eclipse 2024 be visible in India?

Stargazers in India will not be able to have a view of  Solar Eclipse 2024 which will be a Total Solar Eclipse this time. NASA, the US space agency informed that Surya Grahan or NASA will be visible in various countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico, and other parts of North America. “On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada,” the space agency stated on its website.

How to watch this celestial marvel?

As per the viewing advisory for the Solar Eclipse, stargazers are advised to avoid looking directly at the sun as it is unsafe to look at the Sun without any eye protection or safety gear. Specialised eye protection must be worn to catch a glimpse of this celestial marvel.