2024 Solar Eclipse FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the April 2024 solar eclipse


When is the eclipse? Where can I see the eclipse?

The eclipse takes place on April 8th, 2024. The exact time at which it occurs depends on your location. In Williamstown the eclipse will begin, with the first small part of the moon crossing in front of the Sun, at 2:13 pm. The maximum coverage of the Sun by the moon will occur at 3:27 pm, and the eclipse will end at 4:37 pm.

Williamstown is not in the path of totality, which means that the Moon will not completely cover the Sun. The maximum covered will be 96% as seen from Williamstown. While this will produce a noticeable effect, it will not be anywhere near as dramatic as a total solar eclipse. To find the nearest location where the total eclipse is visible, check a map of the path of totality, such as the one available at https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/april-8-2024. Note that many people will travel to the path of totality. Plan ahead! Many, if not all, hotels will be booked many months in advance. If you are driving into the path of totality on the day of the eclipse, plan for the drive to and from the eclipse to take much, much longer than normal, as substantial traffic builds up before and (especially) after the eclipse.


How can I safely view the eclipse?

It is not safe to look directly at the Sun without protective eyewear! Outside of totality you must use protective eyewear, or look through a telescope with a proper solar filter. During totality, when the moon has completely covered the Sun, it is safe to look at the eclipse without protective eyewear.


Where can I get solar eclipse glasses? 

Thanks to a grant from the Williamstown Community Foundation Fund, and thanks to funds from Williams College, we have a limited number of solar eclipse glasses available. The bulk will be distributed to local schools, while the rest will be available to members of the Williams College community (students, staff, and faculty). If you would like to request a pair, contact Dr. Kevin Flaherty.

If you would like to purchase your own solar eclipse glasses, check out the guide from the American Astronomical Society about safely viewing the eclipse, and where to purchase eclipse glasses.


Is Williams College doing anything for the eclipse?

We are still developing plans for the eclipse. Watch this space in the coming months for more information.