2024 Total Solar Eclipse Reports

I arrived in Maine the day before the event. I parked at the spot the original poster mentioned and was able to grab the last parking stall. I slept in my car overnight and when i woke up, there were hundreds of cars lined up. I brought two camera bodies as i wanted a wide angle composite photo and a telephoto shot. Here is what i was able to capture. Overall, it was an amazing experience!


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I watched the eclipse near Glen Rose TX at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. My original plan was to be further south but when I checked the visible satellite that morning, Glen Rose was clear of high clouds so I thought viewing would be optimal there. Conditions were indeed very good, with scattered cumulus and no cirrus. When totality began I had a perfect view which lasted at least two minutes. A cloud moved in front of the sun as totality was ending but overall I was happy with my experience.


I projected an image of the sun with my binoculars


Looking underneath a tree just before totality


My first total eclipse!

The drive home was not fun, once I got south of Waco the road I took was clogged with people who had come from Houston to see the eclipse. At one point traffic was backed up four miles. In retrospect I should have taken the back roads home.
I have now completed my detailed write-up of my observations of the total solar eclipse. You can view that at:


Also, here is a photo collage I made showing the sequence of the eclipse from before it began to the end of totality. The pictures before totality were taken using a solar filter that screws onto the lens of the camera.

Back from taking the whole family on an eclipse chase. What an amazing experience! After watching totality in South Carolina back in 2017, I wanted the entire family to also see this natural spectacle. I had also made a promise to my then four year old daughter that I’d take her and her younger sister to the next eclipse. She was really mad that I didn’t take her to South Carolina. I didn’t trust the kids at the time to not look at the sun. A year in advance, I had set up a several day stay at an exotic animal ranch along the Brazos River south west of Waco for the April 8 eclipse. I was looking forward to seeing animals, fishing, swimming and hiking. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating. Although my initial target was a climatologically favored area for less clouds, the forecast was consistently showing a strong potential for cloudy skies. Driving to northeast Texas was a possibility, but that meant a long drive and the return could be much longer with eclipse traffic. Not much fun especially with two kids, one with a respiratory infection. Luckily, I had a “plan B” with reservations at a cute house on Indian Lake northwest of Columbus, Ohio. I canceled the Texas trip and we made the long drive to Ohio from Virginia. We stopped along the way to visit the amusing Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, West Virginia near the site of the bridge collapse. The kids enjoyed playing by the lake on Sunday. I also showed them nearby EF3 tornado damage from the recent tornado. This was a reminder to take tornado warnings seriously. We also went to nearby caverns and explored a pretty small town that was prepping for a big eclipse party. The skies were completely clear. The following day (eclipse day), we awoke to overcast skies. The clouds slowly moved away revealing perfectly clear skies. A warm beautiful day to prepare for the eclipse. After reviewing satellite loops and forecast models, I decided there was no place nearby that would offer a significantly better view. We would stay. As expected, cirrus clouds mixed with contrails slowly covered the area as eclipse time approached. In the early afternoon, our nice neighbors gave us a ride on their pontoon boat. Everyone we met in this area was so friendly. We followed the eclipse progress with our eclipse glasses and a sun projection device that I made with old binoculars and a box. We also looked at shadows and watched the birds. Nothing really looks different until the sun is covered 80 to 90 percent thought the temperature drop is noticeable earlier. The shadows became sharp and we could see crescents. At that point, the lighting just looked wrong or off; like an approaching storm. To protect the kids, we would put on the eclipse glasses as a group to look at the sun for brief periods, and we’d make sure they were doing it properly. I honestly don’t find looking at the sun through eclipse glasses that interesting. I’d rather watch my projection while looking around at the sky, lighting and shadows. In those last few minutes, darkness rapidly arrived in a wave. One can see it approach from the southwest. At totality, we could see the black silhouette of the moon surrounded by the glowing corona against a darkened sky. Planets were visible. We could also see that big fat prominence on the lower part of the sun with our eyes. There was a 360 degree sunset. Photos and video just don’t do justice to the amazing crisp view of the sun’s corona surrounded by darkness, sunset and the planets. The patches of high cirrus added a texture to the sky. At totality, some folks shot off fireworks in the distance. Just as cool as the view was watching my kids jumping up and down in glee at totality. I scrambled to take photos while also enjoying the experience. Totality was just too short. It ended with a wave of sunlight. The eclipse was over, but we had memories to last a lifetime. We spent the rest of the day relaxing by the lake, hiking in a nearby park and prepping for the long drive back on Tuesday. I later discovered that I had botched the settings on my camera and degrading my photos. I had a Nikon 200-500 zoom, but for some reason, I didn't have it zoomed in all the way. So many distractions. Frustrating considering the preparation and thought before the event. I still had a wonderful time experiencing this rare spectacle with my wife and the kids. For future eclipses, I’d advise anyone interested to make sure they are in the path of totality. Images below. Wide angle view is vertical and has to be clicked on. Also a view of my improvised sun projection device.


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Good day all,

Here is my report on this amazing event (summary): The main portion of this trip was from April 6 to April 13, with the main focus days from April 7-9, and the 8th being the major day. The other days were either travel days, and / or days spent working on my normal IT job. After the 13th, I was supposed to fly out to California, but canceled that trip due to medical reasons, and headed back to Florida on April 13. I flew out to Dallas, Texas (from Fort Lauderdale) on April 6, secured the rental vehicle (a 2024 Toyota Corolla), and headed to a hotel in Plano, Texas, which I booked for the entire week. Another friend of mine I worked with in Florida, Haifeng, flew into the other airport in Dallas, and joined me for the main observation of the eclipse, returning to Florida on April 9.

The main objective was basically a total "opposite" of storm chasing - To find the clearest skies possible. Long-range forecasts were not looking good for viewing the eclipse, especially in Texas, so a plan to go northeast, preferably into Arkansas, was acceptable. On April 8, not only was eastern Texas forecasted to be under heavy clouds, but it also included possible severe weather, and points eastwards there after. I did not chase these setups for storms, since they were messy and fast moving to the east - And chose to work on my IT job instead (remotely from my hotel in Plano). On April 8, best chances were from SW Arkansas and northward for clear skies. I left Plano via Highway 75 to Highway 380 east to I-30 near Greenville, Texas, then SR 41 / 71 north out of New Boston, Texas and into Arkansas. De Queen (SW Arkansas) was still under clouds, so I continued north to be southwest of Mena, near Cove and Hatfield, where the dreaded low cloud deck dissipated by 12:30 PM CDT.

The eclipse was observed off SR 71 in that area (Polk / Sevier Counties). Totality was experienced from about 1:48 PM CDT to 1:52 PM, with over 4 minutes and 15 seconds of darkness with a "360 degree dawn" surrounding the area. The eclipse was spectacular, with a fiery corona, red flares, and even a large solar prominence (bright arch shape / pinpoint of light) seen during totality. Once back in sunlight, I packed up my gear and my friend and I headed the same route we came on, via SR 71 / 41 south to I-30, then east to Highway 380, then Highway 75 south and returned to Plano during the late afternoon. Distant storms and supercells loomed over the horizon to the south, but skies remained clear even near Dallas.

The camera gear used was a GoPro MAX 360 (for virtual immersive 4k video - Esp time-lapse), Sony NX-70 (HD), Canon HFW-11 (zoomed HD), and a Canon Digital Rebel for stills. Other shots were done with a Samsung S24 Ultra smartphone. Two dash cams were also set up (one in the car and another at the hotel in Plano), but unfortunately, the video was unusable from them. On April 9, my friend returned back to Florida - With myself remaining in Plano, working remotely for my IT job from there, and returned to Florida (instead of California) during the morning and afternoon of April 13. The total mileage logged on the rental vehicle was 433 miles.

Full chase log also available on my website here: www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2023.htm


Above: The image above is a composite of the cloud forecast for April 8 (around 18z or 1 PM CDT) with the path of eclipse totality and center-line across the United States. The annotations show the flights between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Dallas, Texas, and appear in Green. The small blue path in NE Texas and SW Arkansas is the driving paths to avoid cloud cover. Note the small clear area in SW and W Arkansas! Low clouds appear in blue, where orange are high cloud forecasts. A major weather system is over much of Texas and was to be avoided - The opposite of storm chasing, where we look for LACK of clouds. The yellow area is the general area of interest for this trip.


Above: This is an annotated visible satellite image between 18z (1 PM CDT) and 1830z (1:30 PM CDT) of the south-central continental USA and northern Mexico. The area showing my location in SW Arkansas is indicated by a yellow "X", just north of a dissipating area of low clouds and entering clear skies. The unmistakable dark shadow is just crossing N Mexico and will enter SW Texas, continuing northeastwards across the USA and eventually into eastern Canada at hyper-sonic ground relative speeds.

Video 1: Edited video of the total solar eclipse as it passed between Mena and De Queen, Arkansas (Polk / Sevier Counties) off SR-71 on April 8, 2024. Totality was from roughly 1:48 PM to 1:52 PM (CDT). See the incredible passage of the moons shadow crossing overhead during this fabulous celestial event.

Video 2: Immersive 360 (VR) video time-lapse of the total solar eclipse as it passed between Mena and De Queen, Arkansas on April 8, 2024. Totality is at 1:47 into the video. The video is using the music "White Sands" (from the "Gemini Drive" album) on YouTube (may be subject to ads and copyright / content matches but no video is monetized on my channel). See the incredible passage of the moons shadow crossing overhead during this fabulous celestial event.

Below: Gallery / Pictures on this event...


Above: Moon half-way covers the sub between first-contact and totality, at roughly 1 PM CDT. Close up of partial stages of eclipse (using solar filters).


Above: Obscured sun (70%) by 1:30 PM CDT viewed through thin low clouds passing by.


Above: Myself taken with smartphone, with the eclipse, Venus, and "360 degree dawn" above the horizon at 1:50 PM CDT.


Above: Incredible corona of sun during totality showing "Bailey's beads" (top right), and large solar prominence (bottom). The prominence was very bright and visible to the naked eye - Twice the size of the earth!


Above: Totality ends at just after 1:52 PM CDT. Note the "diamond ring" effect![/MEDIA][/youtube][/youtube]
My eclipse experience was a nailbiter but ultimately a success. I was travelling with a small group of friends and we decided to get a small airbnb surrounded by idyllic ranches near Blanco in the Texas Hillcountry, knowing the region has the lowest long term average cloud cover in the US totality path in April. It was reasonably priced, but also well within the path of totality itself. I knew it was a risk especially this time of year to lock in a specific location rather then be flexible with multiple hotel bookings but decided to gamble on it because it would offer a wonderful natural setting to enjoy the eclipse and the opportunity to avoid sitting in traffic (The Hillcountry is also generally a great place to explore for a long weekend). In the two weeks preceding the event, the models showed a consistent lack of cooperation in terms of cloud cover in central Texas. Meanwhile southern Illinois and central Indiana were looking increasingly promising in the lead up to the event, which made it painful to me as I am based in the SW suburbs of Chicago. Since we were under penalty for the Airbnb we went ahead with our plan and hoped for the best.

With 24 hrs to go, the cloud concerns were twofold; high cirrostratus from the SW and low level clouds streaming in from the SSE Sunday night and Monday morning with a moisture surge from the Gulf. We awoke Monday morning to the cirrostratus not being too thick, but the low level clouds were an issue. Our best hope was that they would break up somewhat with the heating of the day and this did indeed happen for a time around 10-11 AM. The strata was unbroken to the south and this was moving north so it was looking like it would become fully overcast again in Blanco for the eclipse at 1:30 PM. There was notable clearing to the north so we jumped in the car and drove up US 281 and then headed NW on TX 71. We found a spot right near the centerline of totality on a gravel road at the foot of Packsaddle Mountain about a 1/3 mile east of the highway. The site was photogenic with hills and many wildflowers. There were scattered clouds around that intermittently but briefly blocked the sun but we were still able to enjoy totality: the corona and solar flare and 4 mins 25 sec of sudden darkness which I actually was looking forward to most. I took a couple of quick landscape photos before and during totality but other then that decided to not try and document the corona as it was my first time in totality and wanted to be in the moment enjoying it. I can say it was truly majestic and worth the time and effort to travel.

It turned out that the continuous poor cloud forecasts for central Texas certainly deterred many people from the region and traffic was not an issue for us. Despite the sparse road network and proximity to Austin and San Antonio, we were able to drive the 45 mi from the Airbnb to our viewing spot and back in about 45 mins, which would likely have been unthinkable if forecasts were good and expected crowds materialized. It was no more crowded on the side of the highway and turnouts then a typical higher end chase day. All in all we were very lucky considering the forecast.


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A comet was spotted

Finally getting around to my experience of the eclipse.
I saw the eclipse back in 2017 in Central Nebraska, and it was the most awe inspiring thing I’ve ever seen. The group of us that saw the eclipse knew immediately we would travel wherever we needed to see the next one in 2024.
About a year ago, I started trying to make plans for accommodations, which we thought at the time would be trying to find a big Airbnb house in Texas for our group of 20 people or so that would be traveling to see the eclipse.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have much luck and began looking at hotels, mainly for my family, and then trying to coordinate with the others in our group. My first hotel I booked was in Fort Smith, Arkansas, as I thought my family would leave the Friday before the eclipse and make a weekend out of it in Arkansas at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.
Somewhere around June of last year I booked a room for a rate of $110 on Friday 4/5 in Ft Smith, with another room booked in Texarkana, TX for 4/6.
In September of last year, I received a call from the hotel in Fort Smith saying there was an error with the rate that I booked and that the correct rate was actually $899 per night and if I wanted to stay there, I would have to cancel my room and rebook it at the correct rate. I told the lady on the phone they’re nuts, and initially didn’t do anything with the reservation. The funny thing is it stayed as an active reservation at the low rate all the way up until a couple of weeks before, when I decided I would just cancel it not wanting to potentially deal with any problems.
To complete our nights for the trip, I found a couple of places in Texas south of Dallas that I booked for a good rate. However, again one of the locations called me and claimed that the rate was incorrect and that the correct rate was $500 per night. This hotel actually did cancel my reservation without telling me in advance.
In the end, the five families in our group all ended up staying in different cities and made different plans. Oh well!
Back to the eclipse itself, as the days drew closer and the weather looked iffy for Texas, I decided we would target northern Arkansas or southern Missouri in the path of totality. The night before the eclipse we had found a cheap room in Branson, Missouri, and spent the night there, and the morning of we decided to head east towards south central Missouri, and the town of Thayer, Missouri.
We arrived just as the eclipse was starting. I wanted to document the eclipse so I had brought my camcorder and Nikon camera with my telephoto lens. Unfortunately, we didn’t leave as early as we wanted to in the morning which really pushed time for setting up my equipment. I found myself doing that more than watching the eclipse before totality.
My biggest goal for this eclipse was to try to photograph the prominences if possible. Of course, as it turned out, they were easily seen with the naked eye, and so I was able to get some good pictures of the prominences.
The four minutes flew by of course, and this one seemed even better than the last one, especially with how dark it got.
Unlike the last eclipse where I stayed all the way until the eclipse ended, this time we left about 30 minutes after totality ended. We made our way towards the highway and soon realized the amount of traffic was already increasing so we stopped at the Dairy Queen in town to try to allow more time before getting on the road. Once we left town, we ran into about 3 to 4 times where traffic slowed to a crawl and lasted about 15 to 20 minutes each time before picking up speed again.
We made it back to Omaha about 130 in the morning with it taking about 10 hours instead of what should’ve been 7 1/2 hours.
I’ve included the video I made of totality with my camcorder as well as a few of my pictures I took.

Thank you @JeremyS for the report. It's nice when they come in later. Those of us who saw it can reflect on the experience once again.

I would report those motels to the BBB. Also write hate mail to someone in authority.

Don't fret about equipment. See my main account post. At least you didn't leave your regular prescription glasses in the car. Basics, haha!

Finally, I really like your reaction after 2017 because we had the same. 2017 was 45 min up the road. It was immediately decided we'd travel for 2024.

Our next will be Spain 2027. After 2017 we promised ourselves wait until 2024, not that long, before emptying the bank on international travel. Who cares? It's why we work!

Spain 2026 is too low in the sky, and might require help from fickle North Coast wx. Spain 2027 is earlier in August (no school) high in the sky and viewable from sunny Southern Spain. Yeah, I'll pass on the Middle East. Viva la Espana!
Thank you for the kind reply!

Thank you @JeremyS for the report. It's nice when they come in later. Those of us who saw it can reflect on the experience once again.

I would report those motels to the BBB. Also write hate mail to someone in authority.

Don't fret about equipment. See my main account post. At least you didn't leave your regular prescription glasses in the car. Basics, haha!

Finally, I really like your reaction after 2017 because we had the same. 2017 was 45 min up the road. It was immediately decided we'd travel for 2024.

Our next will be Spain 2027. After 2017 we promised ourselves wait until 2024, not that long, before emptying the bank on international travel. Who cares? It's why we work!

Spain 2026 is too low in the sky, and might require help from fickle North Coast wx. Spain 2027 is earlier in August (no school) high in the sky and viewable from sunny Southern Spain. Yeah, I'll pass on the Middle East. Viva la Espana!
Big Spring Ozark National Scenic Riverway near Van Buren in southeast MO provided an optimal location for my second total solar eclipse in seven years. Back in 2017 in WY, the moon seemed bluish, while in MO in 2024, it appeared blacker.
Essentially, the moon had revolved ~ 8000 miles closer to the earth this time and so produced a shadow almost twice as wide. So, towards the centerline of totality, far less scattered light from outside of the path made it in, and the ground appeared darker during totality.
I didn't take any pictures last time, so on a whim, I used a travel camera, Panasonic FZ2500, to take a picture at full zoom, 480mm, and processed it for clarity and noise. Since I did not shoot wide, the auto exposure was not too overexposed and shows the corona well. _1000176b.jpg