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The 2024 Solar Eclipse

This year’s solar eclipse highlights.
The total solar eclipse that occurred on April 8. PC: Pedro Mendes
The total solar eclipse that occurred on April 8. PC: Pedro Mendes

A total solar eclipse was visible this year over the US on April 8. Solar eclipses happen often, occurring about twice a year. However, a total solar eclipse visible over the US occurs about every 12 years, making them a rare sight. A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, blocking the light from the sun. 

There are four types of solar eclipses; each type depends on how much the sun covers the moon. This year there was a total eclipse, meaning the moon completely covered the sun for a limited time. 

The eclipse was visible across North America, with the viewpoints starting in Mexico and spreading to the Northeast US. The best viewpoints were mainly in cities and towns in Mexico; such as Mazatlán, Nazas, and Piedras Negras. However, many spots in the US served as great viewpoints as well. One of these locations includes Radar Base, Texas. Radar Base is right on the border of Mexico, which makes it the best possible viewpoint you can get to without leaving the US.

Norah Tice, a seventh grader from Pennsylvania, had to view the eclipse from New York. When asked about the viewpoint, she shared her experience. 

Weather wise, it was good for totality, but in terms of viewing the partial eclipse, it was pretty cloudy, so that was unfortunate; but we saw totality and that was all that mattered for us, so I was happy,” Tice said. 

While a solar eclipse is an amazing sight, it’s only safe to look at with the proper protection. Viewing the solar eclipse without any safety measures can cause severe damage to your eyes. When you look up to a solar eclipse with no protection, retinal burns can occur. 

The effects of such would not appear for hours, due to the lack of sensitivity in the retina. Children are especially at risk for eye damage, as their eyes transfer more light through the retina than adult eyes. This is why it is important to inform children about the risks of looking up at the solar eclipse. 

There are safety precautions that can be taken to prevent any damage. The most practical and common safety precaution is the use of glasses that are specifically designed so individuals can look up to the solar eclipse. It is important to differentiate solar eclipse glasses from regular sunglasses. Eclipse glasses are 100,000 times darker than regular sunglasses, this ensures that almost all of the light will be blocked to protect retinas from harm.

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About the Contributor
Kate McGinnis
Kate McGinnis, Staff Writer
Kate is currently a sophomore at Oakmont High School and is in her first year of journalism. She enjoys reading, running, and going to the movies. Kate is in the mock trial club and outside of school she does martial arts.

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