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Solar eclipse: the prime watching spots are along the ‘path of totality’

There is a solar eclipse happening on Monday, and many people have hopes of witnessing the rare phenomenon for themselves. 

The total solar eclipse, when the moon entirely hides the sun, will only be viewable from places that fall within the path of totality, NASA has said, making those prime candidates for eclipse-watching spots. During the brief period of total sun coverage, it will get significantly darker.

“As long as a location is along the path of totality, then it basically all comes down to the weather – it needs to be not cloudy, at least in the patch of sky where the Sun will be when totality hits in the early to mid afternoon, in order to see the eclipse in all of its glory,” University of Richmond Physics Associate Professor Dr. Jack Singal told FOX Business of places best to view the eclipse.

The path of totality for Monday’s eclipse will go through 15 states in total over the course of Monday afternoon, according to NASA. It will be roughly 115 miles wide.

Line of totality for April 8, 2024 solar eclipse

The path of totality and partial contours crossing the U.S. for the 2024 total solar eclipse occurring on April 8, 2024, as mapped by NASA. (NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio / Fox News)

Of those, the total eclipse will hit Texas first and Maine last as it moves on its path across the continent in the northeastern direction, the space agency has said.

ECLIPSE TOURISM EXPECTED TO BRING BIG BUCKS TO AREAS IN PATH OF TOTALITY

“We thought Texas but now New England appears to have the best weather forecast,” Rice University Physics and Astronomy Professor Patricia Reiff told FOX Business late Thursday afternoon. “Clear skies are more important than the time in totality.”

“Generally, there is a greater likelihood of clear skies the farther West and South one goes within the continental U.S.,” Singal said Thursday of early April weather conditions.

He told FOX Business weather forecasts suggested partly cloudy conditions might be in the cards Monday for many major cities in the path of totality.

Singal noted Watertown, New York, as a city “calling for sunny skies” and Del Rio, Texas as “calling for cloudy skies” on the day of the eclipse, as of late Thursday afternoon, citing weather forecasts for Monday. Both are in the total eclipse’s expected path.

Eclipse glasses display

The City of Dripping Springs, Texas is preparing for the solar eclipse with a set of larger than life glasses on display at Veterans Memorial Park on March 5, 2024. Millions of people across the United States are preparing to watch April’s total sola (SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

In a post on its website, the American Astronomical Society said “anywhere within the path beats everywhere outside it” for viewing the eclipse.

Places like Dallas, Texas; Poplar Bluff, Missouri; Evansville, Indiana; Buffalo, New York; Lancaster, New Hampshire; and Caribou, Maine are in the path of totality, NASA said on its website.

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Astronomy.com identified Kerrville, Texas; Lima, Ohio; and Erie, Pennsylvania as some potentially good candidates earlier in the week.

Torreon, a city in northeastern Mexico, is expected to experience nearly 4.5 minutes of the moon completely blocking the sun, longer than any other place.

People outside the totality path will still have a chance to see a partial eclipse. That, the space agency has said, will be visible for much of the U.S.

Eclipse viewers

HOUSTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 14: People gather to view the eclipse during the Space Center Houston Annular Eclipse Celebration and viewing event at NASAs John Space Center Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (Kirk Sides/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images) (Kirk Sides/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images / Getty Images)

NASA has said people who want to watch the solar eclipse must do so using specialized eclipse glasses or they could suffer eye injuries. It is “only safe to remove your eclipse glasses during what’s known as totality,” according to the agency.

SOLAR ECLIPSE TRAVELERS GETTING LEFT IN THE DARK WITH SOLD-OUT HOTEL BOOKINGS

Some companies such as Warby Parker even offered free solar eclipse glasses to the public ahead of the eclipse.

The celestial event is projected to bring a massive economic impact – to the tune of over $4.6 billion – to the states in the path of totality, according to The Perryman Group.

Breck Dumas contributed to this report.

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