Experience the Total Solar Eclipse in Oswego County on April 8
Oswego County reminds residents that a solar eclipse will cross North America on Monday, April 8, passing over Mexico, the United States and Canada. The county is uniquely situated to experience the event’s totality, with three minutes and 30 seconds of darkness in the middle of the afternoon.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, casting a shadow on the planet that either fully or partially blocks the sun’s light. Areas where the sun, moon and Earth line up to create a full or total eclipse are said to be in the “path of totality.”
This full, total eclipse will be viewable throughout Oswego County, with start and end times for the event varying by location. Generally, the eclipse will last approximately two and a half hours, and the period of totality will be about three minutes and 30 seconds.
The eclipse begins shortly after 2 p.m. locally, with totality starting and ending shortly before 3:30 p.m. Following totality, the eclipse continues as the moon moves across the sun, before concluding shortly after 4:30 p.m.
During totality the sky will become dark, similar to when it is dusk or dawn. Drivers and pedestrians should be prepared for sudden nighttime conditions if traveling the afternoon of the eclipse.
Totality may also cause the temperature to drop about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Weather Spark, the average temperature of Oswego County on April 8 ranges from 38 to 47 degrees Fahrenheit. (https://weatherspark.com/d/22175/4/8/Average-Weather-on-April-8-in-Oswego-New-York-United-States#Figures-Temperature) Weather can be unpredictable in April, so anyone viewing the eclipse is advised to pay attention to weather forecasts and dress in layers.
Oswego County expects many visitors to the area for optimal eclipse viewing. Residents should anticipate increased crowds and traffic congestion and plan accordingly. Seniors may want to schedule their errands during the morning hours to avoid heavy traffic.
It is estimated that traffic will be highest after the eclipse ends as viewers start to exit the area. Large crowds may also cause reduced cell phone service signal.
Eclipse viewers need to ensure they have specialized eye protection to avoid injuring their eyes or vision. According to NASA, viewing any part of the sun through a camera, binoculars or a telescope without a special purpose solar filter secured over the front of the lens will instantly cause severe eye injury. (https://science.nasa.gov/eclipses/future-eclipses/eclipse-2024/safety/)
Eclipse glasses or a hand-held solar viewer must be used to view the eclipse before and after totality. Only special purpose solar filters that comply with the transmittance requirements of the ISO 12312-2 international standard allow people to safely look directly at the sun. For a list of suppliers of safer solar filters and viewers, visit the American Astronomical Society’s eclipse website at https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters.
As the eclipse will occur during usual school dismissal times, many Oswego County school districts are planning a half-day for students on April 8. Parents should make arrangements for their children and have proper eyewear available for viewing the eclipse. They can reach out to their school district for more information.
Around the county, a variety of events are planned to celebrate the solar eclipse. Public gatherings will be hosted by the city of Oswego, the city of Fulton, Fort Ontario State Historic Site, Selkirk Shores State Park and more. More information will be announced as details are finalized.
Businesses, organizations and individuals planning to open their doors or spaces to others during the eclipse should contact the Oswego County Health Department’s Environmental Division to ensure they’re following all public health regulations. For more information, call 315-349-3557.
The next total solar eclipse that may be seen from the United States will be on Aug. 23, 2044.For more eclipse information, visit the Oswego County Tourism eclipse webpage at https://visitoswegocounty.com/eclipse/.