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Mark Your Calendars: April 8 Will Bring Darkness to the Skies

Lancaster County residents will see a partial version of the eclipse around 2 p.m.

On April 8, prepare for a breathtaking phenomenon as the sky suddenly darkens in broad daylight. This marks the occurrence of one of nature’s most spectacular events: a total solar eclipse. Anticipated to be the longest on land in over a decade, the totality of this eclipse promises an awe-inspiring spectacle. Just don’t forget to wear your eclipse glasses or use a solar viewer. Please note that the sky has to be clear in order to see the eclipse. 

Millersville University’s Society of Physics Students and the Physics Department invite the campus to observe the Solar Eclipse with them. They will set up telescopes, with solar filters, to observe the event.
Location: In the quad near Gordinier Hall.
Time: Eclipse begins at 2:06 pm
Maximum coverage at 3:22 pm
Eclipse ends at 4:34 pm
NOTE: Rain, or thick clouds, that day will cancel the event.”
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“Eclipse glasses are not regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing the sun,” says Paul Hill, director of environmental health and safety at Millersville University. “Safe solar viewers are thousands of times darker and must comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard.” 

As the moon aligns perfectly between the Earth and the sun on the day of the eclipse, it will create a remarkable sight: the sunlight will be completely obscured. This celestial event will carve a diagonal path from the southwest to the northeast across North America, casting temporary darkness over the communities along its trajectory. Unlike a total solar eclipse, an annular eclipse occurs when the moon is at its farthest point from Earth in its orbit, resulting in a smaller visual appearance compared to the sun. As a result, its shadow may not reach Earth during this phase. 

“The eclipse will commence its journey into the U.S. from Texas, proceeding through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine,” says Kyle Elliott, director of the Weather Center at Millersville University. In south-central Pennsylvania, residents will see a partial eclipse, with approximately 90% to 95% of the sun obscured. The eclipse will begin around 2:05 p.m., reach its maximum coverage at approximately 3:21 p.m. and conclude around 4:33 p.m.”  

Here are some important safety guidelines to follow during a total solar eclipse: 

  • View the sun through eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer during the partial eclipse phases before and after totality. Eclipse glasses are for sale in the University Bookstore. 
  • You can view the eclipse directly without proper eye protection only when the moon completely obscures the sun’s bright face, during the brief period known as totality. (You’ll know it’s safe when you can no longer see any part of the sun through eclipse glasses or a solar viewer.) 
  • As soon as you see even a little bit of the bright sun reappear after totality, immediately put your eclipse glasses back on or use a handheld solar viewer to look at the sun. 

“Except during the brief totality period of the eclipse when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face, it is not safe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing,” says Hill. “Viewing any part of the bright sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the optics will instantly cause severe eye injury.” 

The North Museum of Nature and Science will offer a day trip by bus for eclipse enthusiasts to the SUNY Brockport campus in Brockport, N.Y., on Monday, April 8. The trip will offer the opportunity to view the total solar eclipse within the path of totality. 

The single-day, round-trip event will depart the Lancaster Shopping Center, 1515 Lititz Pike, Lancaster, at 5 a.m., returning around midnight. A box lunch, a beverage, and eclipse viewing glasses are included in the fee. Along the way, Richard D. Clark, professor emeritus of meteorology at Millersville University, will present short lectures regarding past eclipses. 

Advance reservations are required at http://www.northmuseum.org/eclipse/the-great-American-eclipse. 

With clear skies, Lancaster County residents will see a partial version of the eclipse from about 2:06 to 4:34 p.m., peaking at 3:22 p.m., when the sun will be 91% covered by the moon. The last total solar eclipse in the U.S. occurred in 2017, and the next significant eclipse will occur in 2044. 


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