America’s total solar eclipse dazzles millions from Texas to Maine

Over 30 million people across 15 states were treated to a dazzling — and sometimes emotional display of beauty as the last total solar eclipse in the Continental U.S. for decades swept across the nation.

Over 30 million people across 15 states were treated to a dazzling — and sometimes emotional – display of beauty as the last total solar eclipse in the Continental U.S. for decades swept across the nation Monday.

"I have studied the Sun for 15 years. This is unbelievable," Carrie Black of the National Science Foundation told FOX Weather Meteorologist Stephen Morgan as they witnessed the eclipse with a massive crowd at Dallas' Cotton Bowl stadium. "I'm just very overwhelmed. Very open. It's just a full-body experience. I feel it everywhere, just feel it everywhere." 

"I didn't think I was going to cry," Morgan added. "It's amazing to see, I am overwhelmed."

The eclipse first touched the shores of North America at Mazatlán, Mexico, plunging the beach resort town into temporary darkness as thousands cheered on. 

The eclipse reached American soil soon after at Eagle Pass, Texas, spending the next hour zooming across the heartland, through the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes and into New England. Crowds found relatively clear skies in Indianapolis, Cleveland and upstate Maine, but not so much in Upstate New York where clouds washed out the show in Rochester.  

Preparations for Monday’s event were underway for months, with numerous cities and states within the path of totality declaring states of emergency, issuing disaster declarations and closing down schools and municipal buildings for safety reasons.

Where threats of severe weather existed, some events were canceled.

Organizers of the Texas Eclipse Festival in Burnet announced Monday that it would end the festival early because of the dangerous forecast.

"Your safety is our top priority," festival organizers said in the announcement. "With the support and coordination of Burnet County officials, local safety agencies and the National Weather Service, we’ve agreed to end the festival today in a calm, orderly manner."

Organizers advised attendees to leave as early as possible to beat the traffic, but said "guests may stay for the eclipse provided they pack and are prepared to depart after totality."


Total solar eclipse captured on NOAA satellites

NOAA satellites from more than 22,000 miles above the planet captured the view of the eclipse as it traveled across the Americas on Monday.

In the path of totality, the amount of cloud cover dropped as some communities entered temporary darkness from Mexico through Canada.

Significant temperature drops were also reported across the heartland. NOAA satellites depicted temperature drops of between 8-12 degrees as the event passed through Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station encountered a totality of about 90% during its flyover.

The space station was orbiting around 260 miles above southeastern Canada as the Moon’s umbra was moving from New York state into Newfoundland.


Images capture solar flares from the Sun

NASA cameras captured several solar flares protruding from the Sun during totality - a sight that many don't recall seeing during the 2017 solar eclipse event.

The solar flares could be associated with an uptick in activity as the Sun reaches the height of its solar cycle.

A solar cycle is a sequence the sun’s magnetic field goes through every 11 years, where the field flips.

As the magnetic field changes, experts have long warned about fluctuations in the amount of solar activity and sunspots on the surface of our star.

Increased solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and displays of northern lights have occurred throughout 2024, with a peak expected later this year.

Even with the updated predictions of more sunspots, the strength of the cycle is still expected to be generally weaker than average but more significant than what was experienced during the previous solar event.


Eclipse travelers snarl traffic

People traveling for the total solar eclipse on Monday experienced delays on major roads and highways from the southern Plains to the Northeast.

Video from New Hampshire State Police showed a long backup on Interstate 93 and Interstate 89 from the Hooksett to Concord areas as people headed north for the eclipse.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol also shared video of traffic building on Interstate 40 near the Arkansas border.


Problems aren't only expected on roads and highways, either.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned air travelers and pilots that the total solar eclipse on Monday could snarl air traffic, especially at airports in the path of totality.

The FAA posted what it called "special air traffic procedures" on its website and listed the possible impacts on the air travel industry and which airports could be subject to operational changes.

The bulletin included major airports like Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Indianapolis International Airport and Cleveland International Airport.


Miss the solar eclipse? Here's the next best chances in the U.S.

Total solar eclipses happen nearly every year, but the odds that you’ll find yourself under one’s totality are estimated to be less than once in a lifetime.

The next event visible from the U.S. will be in March 2033, but to see it in person, you’ll have to travel to Alaska.

An event in 2044 will be visible from the continental U.S., but its scope will be limited, with only parts of Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota in the path of totality.

A total solar eclipse that many have circled on their calendar is the event on Aug. 12, 2045, when the path of totality will travel from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast.

The event will be fairly similar in path to the August 2017 eclipse that started over the Pacific Northwest and ended over the Carolinas.

Urgent recall of solar glasses issued hours before eclipse

Health officials issued an urgent recall of certain brands of safety glasses hours before the eclipse crossed through the heartland.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said the recalled glasses were sold through Amazon and local retailers as Biniki Solar Eclipse Glasses AAS Approved 2024 – CE & ISO Certified Safe Shades for Direct Sun Viewing.

Health officials said the glasses were recalled for failing to meet international safety standards.

The recalled glasses were labeled as "EN ISO 12312-1:2022" but proper safety glasses should've carried the ISO designation of 12312-2.

Search engine traffic for hurting eyes spikes after eclipse

Google reported trends of people seeking advice for hurting eyes spiked during and after the eclipse, with many states in the path of totality seeing heavy web traffic.

Before the event, medical experts said staring into the solar eclipse for just seconds could cause permanent eye damage.

The burning of the retina can lead to loss of vision, distorted vision or altered colored vision.

Damage from the Sun is known as solar retinopathy and ophthalmologists said there is no known treatment.