The last time there was a solar eclipse was in 2017. There are some key differences between that one, and the eclipse that we're set to experience on April 8, 2024. Total solar eclipses occur when the moon passes right between the sun and the Earth, blocking the sun's light and rays.

I'm lucky, I get to experience both eclipses in person. In 2017, I was living in the Charleston, SC area, and found myself in the path of totality for that year's eclipse. They excitement was palpable. Everyone was abuzz with eclipse fever, and glasses were at a premium. The area was ready.

Photo by Jason Howell on Unsplash
Photo by Jason Howell on Unsplash

Then came the day in August when the eclipse was happening. Of course, there was a layer of clouds overhead that made truly watching the eclipse null and void. No matter, the world was still scheduled to go dark for a short while, and I wanted to experience it.

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Being a devout fan of horror/cataclysm movies, I wanted to be home safe for the experience. Unfortunately, that was not in the cards. I was working in the medical industry at the time and my lunch break started just minutes before the eclipse got underway.

I drove a few miles, and tucked into a park where there were two police cars parked. I felt safe in the moment, confident that if zombies or ghouls rose from the grave, I might have a fighting chance. I cued up the Grateful Dead's Dark Star, the classic live one from 1969. The music played and swirled in perfect sync with the world going dark. It was a few moments of magic I won't soon forget.

In a statement, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate Nicola Fox said: “This year’s total solar eclipse will be at least partially visible to all in the contiguous United States, making it the most accessible eclipse this nation has experienced in this generation."

The next eclipse will not happen until 2044.

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