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Partial solar eclipse hits Mission Valley April 8

by KRISTI NIEMEYER
Editor | April 4, 2024 12:00 AM

Granted, Montana is not among the 15 states that will spend a moment in total darkness as the rare full solar eclipse passes overhead April 8. Still, the Mission Valley will be treated to a partial eclipse at around 12:40 p.m. as the Moon’s shadow glides across the Earth. Action begins around 11:40, as the Moon begins to slip between the Sun and Earth, appearing to devour the Sun along the way.

According to eclipse2024.org, Arlee will see a maximum 43.4% eclipse at 12:38:25 and Mission gets 43.2% coverage at around 12:38. The midway point of 42.8% arrives in Ronan at 12:38:52, and crosses over Polson at 12:39 at 42.5%.

The best viewing sites in Montana are on the eastern edge of the state, with Biddle at 60% at 12:46, Alzada at nearly 62% at around 12:48, and Baker at just over 59% at 12:49.

Eclipse gazers are advised to never look at the phases of a solar eclipse without certified eye protection or filters, since looking at the sun’s corona can burn the retina. Learn more about safe viewing and appropriate eyewear at science.nasa.gov/eclipses/safety.

The astronomical show won’t be nearly as exciting as the almost full eclipse that cruised over the western U.S. Aug. 17, 2017. Still, the next full eclipse isn’t scheduled to arrive on the North American continent until 2044, so we better ogle it while we can.