By Allison Jewell

On Monday, April 8th Louisville will see its first solar eclipse since 1869.

The totality path of the solar eclipse stretches eastward from Texas, crossing through Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Louisville will not be in full totality of the eclipse, however, but towns just north like Bloomington and Evansville will be in the path of 100% totality with a longer view window.

Louisville will have 99% totality, and the eclipse will still be visible for a short amount of time.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s orbit perfectly aligns with the sun, blocking it and casting a cone-like shadow across a path across Earth.

Solar eclipse model and the shadow it casts on the Earth.                                                                          Photo courtesy // Gerard Williger

Solar eclipses happen more often than the public may think, however it never happens in one singular area more than once due to the constantly varying orbit of the moon and the Earth.

A giant flashlight

Gerard Williger, a physics and astronomy professor at the University of Louisville who is hosting a class revolving around the celestial phenomenon, likens the eclipse to a giant flashlight.

“It’s like you’re walking past a house or a car with a flashlight and it will illuminate a strip over time at any given time. It’s just a spot. So if you’re watching from Earth, the eclipse will just pass and be anywhere from a few seconds up to about seven minutes,” he said.

Williger recommends buying the correct eye protection if you plan to view the eclipse. Eyewear needs to be on before and after totality during a partial eclipse. Williger cites an incident in 2017 when a woman viewed an eclipse without eyewear, creating crescent-shaped eye damage. During full totality, glasses can be safely taken off and phone cameras can safely be pointed at the phenomenon. 

Many locations around Louisville are handing out eclipse glasses for free like Scooters Coffee, Warby Parker, and Sonic Drive-Ins. Various branches of the Louisville Free Public Library are hosting eclipse-related events in which they’ll hand out glasses. If all fails, eclipse glasses are available on Amazon or other retailers. 

Expect long traffic jams and network outages for trips related to the solar eclipse. The state of Kentucky expects one million visitors to pass through the state.

The Governor of Indiana has already declared a state of emergency due to the mass amounts of spectators expected to participate in viewing the eclipse. 

The next eclipse that is predicted to occur by Louisville is more than a century away in 2153, so try not to miss this one.

Photo Courtesy // WDRB