If you’ve heard about the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 and you’re still not sure whether to get excited, keep reading.
Solar eclipses happen on any one spot on the Earth about once every 300 years. We’re lucky. The southwest part of the St. Louis region sits in the path of this one.
The eclipse isn’t just a couple of moments in the dark in the middle of the day. It’s a connection to history and one another. It’s not political or polarizing. It’s a chance to celebrate science and our place on this big, blue marble.
You’ve probably never seen anything in the world like a total solar eclipse. And, according to those who have seen one, it’s a deeply emotional experience.
We’ve put together a guide to the Great American Eclipse and how to enjoy it in the St. Louis region. We’ve included a list of more than 100 places hosting eclipse events and parties, as well as stories about eclipses and how the area is preparing.
While you decide where you want to be on Aug. 21, consider these tips:
Leave early. The partial phase of the eclipse will happen late in the 11 a.m. hour, with totality at about 1:15 p.m., and the final partial phase ending at about 2:45. Lots of people will want to view the eclipse starting with the partial phase, so traffic might be heavier than you think.
Figure out your plan. Aug. 21 is a Monday. Your kids may or may not be in school, and your boss may or may not let you take the day off.
Bring plenty of water, sunscreen and food. Though places hosting events will sell food, it’s a good idea to have enough of your own.
Bring a pair of solar viewing glasses. You’ll need them to safely view the partial phase of the eclipse directly. You don’t have to wear them to simply go outside — they’re so strong, you won’t be able to see anything.
Watch the weather. While the sky will still get dark if clouds cover the sun, you won’t see the dramatic effects of the eclipse. Prepare to go somewhere with clear skies.
Educate yourself and others about what you may see. Do you know about the diamond ring effect? Baily’s beads? Read more on Page 3 about what to look for.
Enjoy! The last solar eclipse happened in St. Louis in 1442. You’ll get to enjoy another one in 2024, but only in southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. The next one that will pass directly over St. Louis will occur in 2505.
— Amy Bertrand and Valerie Schremp Hahn
Valerie Schremp Hahn • 314-340-8246
@valeriehahn on Twitter