Preparing for the 2024 Solar Eclipse in Vermont

2024 Solar Eclipse in Vermont

Vermonters, prepare for the experience of a lifetime — the 2024 Great American Total Solar Eclipse is coming to the Green Mountain State! On April 8, 2024, a large swath of our home state will experience “totality,” an exceedingly rare phenomenon that causes day to turn to night. So, what can we expect for the Vermont eclipse of 2024? We’re answering all your most frequently asked questions.

What Is the Vermont Solar Eclipse?

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly in front of the sun, casting a shadow on the Earth’s surface and blocking out most of the sun’s light. The path of the moon’s shadow as it travels across the Earth’s surface is called the “path of totality.” It’s about 125 miles wide. For this eclipse, the path will start in western Mexico, span 13 states and Canada, and end in the mid-Atlantic Ocean.

Many who have witnessed totality rank it as one of the most exciting things they’ve ever seen. The phenomenon starts with an eerie darkening of the sky that some describe as a “360-degree sunset.” Birds begin to roost, and animals head for shelter, believing that night has fallen. Next, brighter stars and planets become visible in the sky. As the last bit of sunlight disappears behind the moon, observers can look for “Baily’s beads,” or the “diamond ring” effect. This happens as the sun shines through gaps between the irregular-shaped mountains on the silhouette of the moon. Finally, the breathtaking solar corona makes its appearance. The wispy outer layers of the solar atmosphere dance around the stark black solar disk.

Where Is the Best Place to View the 2024 Solar Eclipse in Vermont? 

The great news for Vermonters is that our state lies on the path of totality, so a huge swath of northern Vermont will experience the full solar eclipse from start to finish.

Our pick for the best place in Vermont to view the total eclipse is St. Alban’s City. It lies virtually on the center line and will experience a whopping three-and-a-half minutes of totality, among the most prolonged durations in the United States. 

Another great option is Vermont’s most populous city, Burlington, with about three minutes and 15 seconds of totality. The state capital of Montpelier is slightly south of the center line, but will still enjoy about 90 seconds of total eclipse. The eclipse will start there at 2:14 p.m. (EDT). Middlebury is on the outskirts of the path and will experience totality for just under one minute.

It’s important to note that some Vermont cities lie entirely outside the path of totality and will only experience a partial solar eclipse. This includes most of southern Vermont and towns like Bennington, Brattleboro, Manchester, and Dorset. Observers in these locations will witness a deep partial eclipse, but they will never be able to see the sun’s majestic corona. If you live in one of these towns, we strongly advise you to take the short drive north into the path. 

How Do I View the Eclipse?

It’s easy to understand why the strangeness of total eclipses frightened ancient peoples who did not understand the science behind them. But today, we know that solar eclipses are completely safe natural phenomena. In fact, they can help scientists learn more about our closest star, the sun, and other stars in the universe.

To view the eclipse safely, you need a pair of safe, ISO-certified solar glasses for every member of your viewing party. Look for ones that bear the latest ISO standard, which is ISO 12312-2. You should wear your glasses during all the partial phases of the eclipse and only remove them during totality. Once totality is over, put them back on right away.

If you don’t live along the path of totality, plan now how you’ll get there. Hotel rooms in the path are already booking up for the Vermont eclipse. We also recommend having access to a car so you can move in case the weather changes. Early April is a beautiful time in Vermont, but it can be stormy or cloudy. Arm yourself with a solid game plan and chase the eclipse like a pro.