Get ready, after seven years since the last total solar eclipse in the U.S. we’re expecting the next eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024. To safely view the eclipse, you’ll need a pair of solar eclipse sunglasses, and thanks to a couple of places, including the Solar Eclipse Activities for Libraries (SEAL) program, you can get a free pair of solar eclipse glasses at many public libraries just in time to watch the eclipse. Here are the full details on when to watch the annular eclipse and where to get yourself a free pair of the glasses, and whether your library is participating in this free solar glasses freebie.
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If you miss this upcoming total solar eclipse, you’ll have to wait until August 23, 2044 for the next one in the U.S.!
The total solar eclipse will happen on April 8, 2024 — how to get a pair of solar glasses to watch it safely.
There’s no reason to buy a pair of solar glasses when you can get a free pair from your local public library or SolarEclipseUSA.com. Here’s the scoop:
Space Science Institute
In 2023, the Space Science Institute’s Solar Eclipse Activities for Libraries (SEAL) program distributed more than 5 million solar eclipse glasses to 10,000 public libraries across the U.S. to hand out for free so people could view the annular eclipse in October and the total eclipse coming in April 2024. To find your local participating library, click on this interactive map.
If you only need one pair of solar eclipse glasses you can order a pair from SolarEclipseUSA.com. They have 30,000 pairs to give away, one per household. To get yours, you’ll have to send a self-addressed stamped business size envelope (#10 envelope) inside another #10 envelope and address that one to:
Solar Eclipse Promotion
PO BOX 219
Centerville, MO 63633-0219
You should get your pair of solar eclipse glasses in about 8 weeks. This promotion is good while supplies last.
We know, we know, we’ve told you not to buy a pair of solar eclipse glasses, but, if you don’t have any luck scoring a free pair from the resources above, think about buying a pair at Walmart. In October 2023, Walmart had solar eclipse glasses for $0.10 a pair. That’s pretty darn close to free. These glasses were available in store, for pickup and delivery. We expect to see this offer again next year in time for the total eclipse.
What time is the eclipse on April 8, 2024?
Here’s when and where you can watch the eclipse on April 8, 2024. According to NASA, the eclipse will come up from Mexico and cross the U.S. in a Northeast direction ending in Newfoundland Canada. The eclipse’s path will cross 13 states, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois. Here’s a look at what major metro areas can expect on April 8, 2024.
All the times in our chart are local.
|Location||Eclipse Begins||Eclipse Ends||Eclipse Max|
|Austin||12:17 p.m.||2:58 p.m.||1:37 p.m.|
|Boston||2:16 p.m.||4:39 p.m.||3:30 p.m.|
|Charlotte||1:54 p.m.||4:26 p.m.||3:12 p.m.|
|Chicago||12:51 p.m.||3:22 p.m.||2:08 p.m.|
|Columbus||1:56 p.m.||4:27 p.m.||3:13 p.m.|
|Dallas||12:23 p.m.||3:03 p.m.||1:43 p.m.|
|Denver||11:28 a.m.||1:54 p.m.||12:40 p.m.|
|Fort Worth||12:22 p.m.||3:02 p.m.||1:42 p.m.|
|Houston||12:20 p.m.||3:01 p.m.||1:40 p.m.|
|Indianapolis||1:51 p.m.||4:23 p.m.||3:08 p.m.|
|Jacksonville||1:48 p.m.||4:20 p.m.||3:05 p.m.|
|Los Angeles||10:06 a.m.||12:22 p.m.||11:12 a.m.|
|Miami||1:48 p.m.||4:13 p.m.||3:02 p.m.|
|New York City||2:11 p.m.||4:36 p.m.||3:26 p.m.|
|Philadelphia||2:08 p.m.||4:35 p.m.||3:24 p.m.|
|Phoenix||10:08 a.m.||12:35 p.m.||11:20 a.m.|
|San Antonio||12:15 p.m.||2:56 p.m.||1:34 p.m.|
|San Diego||10:03 a.m.||12:23 p.m.||11:11 a.m.|
|San Francisco||10:14 a.m.||12:16 p.m.||11:13 a.m.|
|San Jose||10:13 a.m.||12:17 p.m.||11:13 a.m.|
|Seattle||10:39 a.m.||12:21 p.m.||11:29 a.m.|
|Washington DC||2:04 p.m.||4:33 p.m.||3:21 p.m.|
It’s important to get your free solar glasses so you can safely view the eclipse.
During any solar eclipse, you must protect your eyes from the sun’s rays (they can cause retinal burns, also called solar retinopathy). Solar eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer are the best way to protect your eyes. Those using cameras, binoculars, or telescopes to view the eclipse should use proper solar filters on the front of the device’s lens.
The only safe time to view an eclipse is during a total solar eclipse when the moon covers the entire sun (when you can no longer see any parts of the Sun through solar eclipse glasses or a viewer).
How to view the solar eclipse without solar eclipse glasses
We can’t stress enough how important proper protection is when viewing a solar eclipse. However, if you’re unable to score a free solar glasses there are a couple of alternative ways to safely view the event.
Expect a live NASA broadcast
On Oct. 14, 2023, NASA broadcasted the Ring of Fire eclipse live on their YouTube channel from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. EDT. This allowed you to safely watch the eclipse from anywhere. We expect NASA will again broadcast the total solar eclipse on Monday April 8, 2024. As soon as they share the broadcast information we’ll share here.
DIY a solar viewer
Another way you can view the upcoming total solar eclipse is to DIY a solar viewer. We found a couple of options, including a video on how to make one before this weekend’s solar eclipse. Both only require a few steps and items you might already have at home.