This is the fourth installment in a series about the upcoming total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024. Villagers are very fortunate to be directly aligned with the path.

As the Moon becomes visible over the Sun’s disk. It looks like the Moon has taken a bite out of the Sun. It will get darkish—a deep twilight like nothing else you’ve experienced—but totality is a way more profound experience than that. With only a minute or less to go, you could see a number of fleeting events before totality. For example, you might notice a phenomenon known as shadow bands. These thin, wavy alternating lines of light and dark can be seen moving across the ground and are caused by the Earth’s atmosphere refracting the last of the Sun’s light.

You might also notice the shadow of the Moon rapidly approaching your location. As the shadow races toward you, you’ll also notice the shadow moving across the sky above your head, like a blanket being thrown over you.

If you’re standing on the summit of a large hill or mountain, you may be in for an additional treat. Anyone able to see the surrounding landscape from a reasonable altitude could also see the large, dark shadow of the Moon rapidly rushing across the Earth’s surface until they’re engulfed in darkness.

With only about fifteen or twenty seconds remaining, you’ll start to see a white, ghostly fire surrounding the blackened disc of the Sun – the corona. This is the outermost portion of the Sun’s atmosphere, extending millions of kilometers into space.

All of a sudden, all the light disappears around you in the middle of the day, the sky goes a deep azure blue, stars and planets appear in the sky above your head, and there’s an orange glow on the horizon all around you. The long-awaited moment of a total solar eclipse – totality – makes up just minutes of an hours-long process, and aside from the few minutes of totality, it’s crucial for people to wear special eclipse glasses so as not to hurt their eyes.

During totality, take a few seconds to observe the world around you, like the 360-degree sunset. You may also be able to see some particularly bright stars or planets in the darkened sky. The temperature, lacking the warmth of the Sun, has dropped by up to ten degrees. Birds and animals are silent, fooled into thinking that night has fallen. It is also worth stealing a peek at the people around you – many people have a deep emotional response when the Sun goes into totality. After just a couple of moments, the process that led up to totality will repeat in reverse, and the eclipse will come to an end. Don’t forget, the only time it is safe to view the eclipse without proper solar glasses is during the approximate 4 minutes of totality.

The HSV Camera Club and Village Stargazers will continue to post information articles on the solar eclipse. Next week, we will cover when and where to view it.

References: What is a Total Eclipse by Richard Bartlett 10/12/2022

By HSV Camera Club and Village Stargazers

Click here to read “Phases and Timing of the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.”

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.

Shadow Bands in Hot Springs Village: Joe Dowden Iphone

Featured Image by santicas.