top of page

2024 Solar Eclipse

On Apr. 8, a total solar eclipse moved across North America, travelling across the USA, Canada and Mexico. Prior to this, the last total solar eclipse visible in the US was in Aug. of 2017. With a variety of types of eclipses to experience,  the darkness of a total solar eclipse or the allure of a lunar eclipse, these celestial experiences offer people a fleeting glimpse into the intricate workings of the cosmos.

During a solar eclipse, the moon positions itself between the sun and the Earth, casting its shadow upon the planet. Conversely, a lunar eclipse unfolds when Earth sidles between the sun and the moon, veiling the moon inshadow. 

Eclipses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each offering moments in which people around the globe stop their activities briefly to observe the eclipse. Tourism officials even estimated that for this year’s eclipse, approximately 4 million to 5 million people travelled across the country to see the effects of the eclipse, making it the country’s biggest traveling day of the year. While North Carolina was not on the path of totality for this eclipse, the effects of it could still be viewed. The ‘peak time’ of the eclipse for NC residents was at approximately 3:15 p.m. for those who observed the eclipse. Many members of the Meredith community took time out of their day to observe the eclipse, with many gathering on the roof of the Science and Math Building (SMB) as well as other parts across campus. 

Many used this moment as a learning opportunity to learn not only about the total solar eclipse, but other elements of eclipses as well. The Herald  took the opportunity to share some information about the various eclipses below.

Take the total solar eclipse, for instance—as the moon completely obscures the sun, the world around is filled with twilight, and witnessing the sun's corona emerge from behind the lunar silhouette is the moment that is anticipated.

Partial solar eclipses, on the other hand, bring a more subdued yet equally captivating display. Here, only a portion of the sun is veiled by the moon's passage.

Then there's also the example of a lunar eclipse. As Earth's shadow moves across the lunar surface, the moon takes on a reddish hue—a sight that has inspired myths, legends, and spiritual interpretations across cultures and civilizations for millennia.

Throughout history, eclipses have held profound cultural and spiritual significance for societies around the globe. From ancient civilizations who saw them as omens of change to modern interpretations that view them as moments of cosmic renewal, eclipses have left an indelible mark on the human psyche. However, eclipses aren't just about mystique and mythology—they're also invaluable opportunities for scientific inquiry. Through meticulous observation, astronomers have gained crucial insights into the workings of this  solar system and beyond. Solar eclipses, in particular, offer a rare chance to study the sun's enigmatic corona–the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere. Total solar eclipses shed light on the corona’s mysteries and deepen the  understanding of the cosmos.

By Salma Emjaheed, Contributing Writer

Photo courtesy of Shae-Lynn Henderson, EIC



bottom of page