Begin Main Content Area

 PA.AgencyPortal.WebParts.Blogging - BlogPostWebPart

There Goes the Sun

Tags: State Parks
March 06, 2024 12:00 AM

Blog Header Image

Excitement is building across Pennsylvania and a large swath of the country for the spring 2024 solar eclipse.

The sky will darken much like dawn or dusk for the short duration of the total eclipse.

The eclipse will be visible in most of Pennsylvania, with the northwest corner of the state in the “path of totality” where the moon will block the sun’s face entirely.

Ideally, this will reveal the sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona.

In general, the eclipse will begin around 2:00 P.M. on Monday, April 8 as the moon’s orbit begins to travel in between the sun and earth, appearing as a dark shadow biting into the bright sphere of the sun.

Within the path of totality, the total eclipse phase will last from approximately 3:15 P.M. to 3:20 P.M. as the moon completely covers the sun’s surface.

The eclipse will conclude around 4:30 P.M.

Viewing the Eclipse in Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania showing the path of totality of the solar eclipse.

The path of the eclipse will cross through a portion of northwest Pennsylvania, including Erie, Crawford, Warren, and Mercer counties.

For nearly four minutes, the afternoon sky will go dark. To see the sun totally eclipsed by the moon, you must be in the path of totality.

Most of Pennsylvania lies within the 90 percent coverage range, so there will be excellent viewing across the state, weather permitting, even outside the path of totality.

Solar Eclipse in Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests

An aerial view of Presque Isle State Park penninsula, with stone jettys lined up in the water along beaches, forests, and bogs.

Visitors are welcome in all of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests to view the eclipse, or the view from your local municipal park or even your backyard will be excellent!

Four state parks lie within the path of totality:

If you do plan to visit a Pennsylvania state park on April 8, stay informed by regularly checking the alerts at the top of the web page for the park you plan to visit.

On the day of the eclipse, crowds are expected, especially in the northwest, so visitors will need to be prepared.

Plan Ahead to View the Eclipse in a Pennsylvania State Park

  • Make a reservation​ -- many overnight accommodations in Pennsylvania state parks are filling up.​​​

  • Come early and stay late -- large crowds are anticipated! You should plan around many other visitors sharing viewing spaces and traffic delays arriving, within parks, and departing.

  • Have a plan B location in mind -- if a park reaches the maximum capacity identified for parking and safety, it may close entirely for the remainder of the event.

  • Park only in designated locations -- specific parking and viewing areas may be defined.

  • You may not be able to connect -- many parks and forests have little to no cell reception. Cell phone networks and internet service may not work properly in areas that typically do have service during the eclipse.

  • Check the weather -- you will be outside for an extended time period so prepare for varied conditions. Weather also will greatly determine the quality of the viewing experience.

Protect Your Eyes While Viewing an Eclipse

A woman stands outdoors to view a solar eclipse wearing viewing glasses, others in the background do the same.

You need to protect your eyes to view the eclipse safely.

Looking directly at the sun with the naked eye, through an unfiltered camera lens, or with any kind of standard sunglasses may result in permanent eye injury.

To protect your eyes:

  • Use eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer during the partial eclipse phases before and after totality.

  • Use solar viewers that comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard.

  • You can view the eclipse directly without proper eye protection only when the moon completely obscures the sun’s bright face -- during the brief and spectacular period known as totality. (You’ll know it’s safe when you can no longer see any part of the sun through eclipse glasses or a solar viewer).

  • As soon as you see even a little bit of the bright sun reappear after totality, immediately put your eclipse glasses back on or use a handheld solar viewer to look at the sun.​

Viewing through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope also requires specific solar filters to protect against eye injury.

Learn More About the Solar Eclipse

Many state parks are holding educational programs leading up to the eclipse on April 8.

Get more information about visiting for Erie’s total solar eclipse from VisitErie.

A total solar eclipse interactive map gives more precise times for any location.

NASA has a video explaining a solar eclipse and more information on the NASA Eclipses web page.

On the day of the eclipse you can view it live on the Exploratorium solar eclipse livestream and the timeanddate total solar eclipse web page​.

Share This