Frequently Asked Eclipse Questions
- What is a solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and casts a shadow on the Earth.
Solar eclipses happen roughly every 18 months, but any given location on Earth will experience a total eclipse roughly once every 375 years!
- How long will the eclipse last?
Bloomington will experience just over 4 minutes of totality, but the whole eclipse will last about 2 and a half hours.
Partial Eclipse Begins 1:49:08 PM Totality Begins 3:04:51 PM Totality Ends 3:08:53 PM Partial Eclipse Ends 4:22:28 PM
- What should I expect on elipse day?
Many people will travel to the path of totality to experience the eclipse on April 8th. Be prepared to be stuck in traffic for many hours if you plan to travel that day. Bring lots of water, food & snacks, any essential medications, etc.
- What will I experience?
As totality approaches, you will experience changes around you. The temperature will drop, and shadows will sharpen as more Sun's light is blocked. If there are leaves on the trees, they will act as pinhole cameras and cast images of the eclipse. When the moon fully covers the sun, it will be completely dark. The Sun’s Corona will be visible, and prominences may be seen as streams of red. During totality, four “naked eye” planets (Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) will also visible.
- What will happen if the eclipse is clouded out?
In April, Bloomington has a 60% chance of being clouded out, but you can still expect to notice changes! You will experience 4 minutes of complete darkness. The clouds will act as the perfect backdrop to see the shadow approach from the SW and disappear to the NE. During the darkness, animals will also engage in “nighttime behaviors,” such as increased activity or nighttime vocalizations.
What to Expect
- Where is the best place to view the eclipse?
The best location to view the eclipse is a location at which the SW and NE horizons are visible. There will be many people traveling to Bloomington that day, so we recommend that you view the eclipse from your own back yard if you are able to!
- Can a speaker from the Department of Astronomy come to my event?
If you are interested in having a speaker in the months leading up to the eclipse, please fill out and submit the form below on this page. We will try to accommodate as many requests as possible! Unfortunately, on the days leading up to and including eclipse day, the Department of Astronomy will be heavily involved with IUB campus events and will be unable to send speakers to events.
- Where can I get viewers?
Viewers will be sold at different vendors on campus and locally. You may also find solar viewers online from trusted vendors. We recommend checking the AAS website for a list of trusted vendors.