Apr 08, 2024

Total solar eclipse to cross North America today

Posted Apr 08, 2024 1:00 PM

On Monday, April 8, a total solar eclipse will cross North America. The Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Highway Patrol advise travelers to plan ahead as traffic is expected to increase.

“Remember that the shoulders of highways and interstates are for emergencies only,” said KHP Capt. Candice Breshears. “Finding a safe and secure location to view the eclipse is a must for all travelers to make it to their destinations safely.”

Travelers should be patient, avoid distractions and practice safe driving habits.

READ MORE: Huge crowds await a total solar eclipse. Clouds may spoil the view

“Pay attention to the roadway, not the sky,” said KDOT Director of Safety Troy Whitworth. “Be on the lookout for other drivers who may be distracted. Traffic will most likely be heavy before, during and after the event in the locations where the eclipse can be viewed. So, plan your travel accordingly.”

Kansas is not in the direct viewing area of the total solar eclipse. It will begin in Mexico and enter the U.S. in Texas, and parts of 14 additional states will experience the total solar eclipse as it travels northeast across the country. Then it will enter Canada.

According to the National Weather Service, a total solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s elliptical orbit is towards its minimum distance from Earth, making the moon appear larger than the sun. This allows the moon to completely obscure the sun, and a shadow is cast on the Earth’s surface.

Use specialized eye protection to view the sun during this time. Check the weather and plan accordingly – make sure to dress properly and be prepared for potential weather incidents when driving long distances. For information on Kansas road conditions, go to  www.kandrive.gov or call 5-1-1.

Instructions for the Safe Use of Solar Filters and Viewers  

Check out the National Weather Service's interactive eclipse map and timing for your location click here.

● Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched, punctured, torn, or otherwise damaged, discard it.

● Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.

● If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them or hold your handheld viewer in front of them. 

● Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright Sun.

● After looking at the Sun, turn away and remove your filter - do not remove it while looking at the Sun.

● Do not look at the uneclipsed, partially eclipsed, or annularly eclipsed Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. 

● Do not look at the Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while wearing your eclipse glasses or using a handheld solar viewer in front of your eyes - the concentrated solar rays could damage the filter and enter your eyes, causing serious injury.

● Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device; note that solar filters must be securely attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.