According to NASA, “A solar eclipse happens when, at just the right moment, the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth. Sometimes, the Moon only blocks part of the Sun’s light. This is called a partial solar eclipse. Other times, the Moon blocks all of the Sun’s light. This is called a total solar eclipse.” 

Our Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun, but it’s also about 400 times closer to Earth than the Sun. This means that from Earth, the Moon and the Sun appear to be roughly the same size in the sky.

When the Moon blocks the Sun’s light, it will cast a shadow on a small portion of the Earth. As our Earth rotates, the Moon’s shadow creates a trail. This trail is called the path of totality.

What is so exciting about this path of totality? Well, for one, it is a rare event. Yes, it may happen once or twice per year somewhere on our planet, but not too often in the good ole’ U.S.A. Our last U.S.A. total solar Eclipse occurred in 2017, when its path of totality crossed over our nation from the NW to the SE. That was especially rare because it was the only time in our nation’s history that it was only visible from the U.S.A. Prior to that, we had one in 1979 that was only visible in a few Northern states and mostly Canada.

Secondly, and even more exciting, is that on April 8th, 2024, this rare astronomical event is coming to our own Hot Springs Village! If you were to draw a line from Texas to Maine you would see the narrow path of totality travels right through our beautiful Village! The rest of the nation can still see a partial eclipse (as long as they use protective filters), but those of us in the path of totality will experience several minutes of darkness in the middle of the day. We will be able to see the Sun’s white Corona with the naked eye! (be sure to use special Eclipse glasses or filters during the partial phases). The Corona (crown) is only visible during a Total Solar Eclipse!

So arm yourself with Eclipse glasses and get ready to enjoy the show because our nation will not experience this phenomenon again for 20 years. And, perhaps never again in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. 

Next week the HSV Camera Club and Village Stargazers will continue this series by covering eclipse phases and timing.

Article by HSV Camera Club and Village Stargazers; Featured image – 2017 Total Solar Eclipse by Peter Trabant (Taken in Cape Girardeau, MO).

Click here to read the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Series Introduction.

Click here to visit the HSV Camera Club website.

Click here to visit the Hot Springs Village Stargazers Facebook Page.

Click here to visit the official Hot Springs Village POA Facebook Page.