Solar Eclipse in the Finger Lakes 2024

27 March 2024

Brace yourself for multiple renditions of Total Eclipse of the Heart written by Don McLean as we approach the solar eclipse on Monday, April 8.  This will be the last total eclipse of the sun that we will be able to see from North America for 20 years.

There should be excellent viewing from the Finger Lakes area, assuming the weather cooperates.

We all know that the eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun and the shadow obliterates the sun’s rays.  The sky will become dark and expect that street lights will come on.

The event actually happens in phases.  Just keep the special glasses on for all of them:

  • Shadow Bands – These are long stripes of dark and light spaces that may appear on the sides of buildings. They may not be easily seen and less likely to photograph very well.
  • Baily’s Beads – The solar light moving through the moon’s valleys will appear as points of light around the rim of the moon. Again, these will be short-lived and most people will miss them.
  • Diamond Ring – As Baily’s Beads fade, one bright spot will remain. The effect will seem like an engagement ring with a solitaire.
  • Total – This is the biggie. The chromosphere is a thin circle of pink and the corona will look like white light streams.  While you may safely remove the goggles for this phase, be aware that it will only last a minute or so.  Everything will go dark and you may be able to see a 360 degree sunset, stars, and planets.  The temperature will drop (loss of heat from the sun) and there will be a strange silence, except for the folks oohing and aahing.
  • Third Contact – Be sure your solar glasses and camera filters are back in use! The sun will begin to shine through on the opposite end of the darkness.
  • Reverse Order – Then the final stages are a backtrack of Diamond Ring, Baily’s Beads, and Shadow Bands.

solar eclipse

Check out for a full list of events in this area.  This will include:

  • The 410 acres of woodlands and open areas at Ontario County Park at Gannett Hill
  • Hemlock Lake
  • Canadice Lake
  • Harriett Hollister Spencer State Recreational Area
  • Cumming Nature Center

If you are fortunate, the C.K.E Meese Observatory.

But if you don’t want to join the throngs of people, you can have your own party in your neighborhood.  You should plan on bringing:

  • ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses or hand held solar viewers
  • Chairs, blankets, etc.
  • Sunscreen and hats
  • Water, snacks, or personal items to remain comfortable during the event.
  • Appropriate filters for your camera or phone.


Of course, there are myths and superstitions surrounding this type of an event.

  • Ancient explanations:
    • The sun is being consumed by some demon, dragon, god, or even a thieving dog. The remedy?  Make lots of noise.
    • Some Native Americans felt that a bear was having a little snack. It is also associated with a bite out of the moon since a solar eclipse occurs around two weeks prior to or after a lunar eclipse.  Others felt that the sun became angry and left to visit its house in the underworld.
  • Modern Superstitions:
    • Evil omens that are a precursor to death and other disasters. In fact, if it occurs within six months of your birthday, expect a health problem.  Or it will predict that major events will happen during the near future.
    • Any food prepared during the eclipse will be poison.
    • If you are pregnant, watching the eclipse will be harmful to the child.

With luck the weather will cooperate and everyone will have a good time.

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