Wendy Royal Spring 2024
Viewing a Solar Eclipse is an otherworldly experience, but we often see just a fraction of the eclipse. On April 8, the city of Erie will be in the path of totality, a rare and privileged position allowing the sky to go dark for nearly four minutes as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. Although the eclipse will be visible to almost everyone in North America, Erie stands out as the only major city in Pennsylvania where you can witness all stages of the event. The partial eclipse begins at 2:02 p.m. in Erie, and totality will start at 3:16 p.m.
When the eclipse hits totality, the moon and sun are lined up perfectly, with the moon obscuring the entire sun except for its outer atmosphere, which gives the eclipse a spectacular glow. During totality, if even a tiny part of the sun is visible, it will be 10,000 times too bright to view with the naked eye. That is why special glasses are required to view the eclipse safely.
VisitErie (Erie’s destination marketing organization) expects huge crowds of visitors at the most popular destinations, like Presque Isle State Park and Erie’s Bayfront District. Erie County will have many public viewing locations, but higher elevations with unobstructed views are recommended. Some examples are Shades Beach in Harborcreek, Picnicana in Summit Township, and Erie Bluffs State Park. Visit ErieEclipse2024.com for a list of public viewing locations. VisitErie will update the list as more locations are added.
In addition to the main event, Erie will host events like The Greatest Show On Earth at PennWest Planetarium and The Total Eclipse Festival at Lake Erie Speedway. You can plan a spectacular extended weekend getaway with the help of the free ‘Hello Erie’ app available for Apple or Android devices.
The next Total Solar Eclipse visible in the U.S. won’t be until 2044, but a view of a solar eclipse in its totality will not happen again in Pennsylvania until 2144. So, if you want to experience a once-in-a-lifetime event in Pennsylvania, head to Erie in early April.
In addition to Erie, Crawford, Warren, Mercer, and Venango Counties are also in the path of totality. No matter where you choose to view the eclipse, the weather will have a big say in how well we see it.