On April 8, 2024, certain parts of the United States will experience a total solar eclipse- and there won’t be another one in this part of the world until 2044- that’s 20 years from now! For many of us, this will be a once in a lifetime moment. Parts of Vermont will be in the Path of Totality- which means that the sun is entirely obscured by the moon for a period of time, and viewers will get to experience total darkness during the day! So how do you ensure that you have the perfect eclipse viewing experience? Whether you are making the journey to Vermont to view the eclipse, or you live here and just need some more info, here are my best tips for viewing the total solar eclipse in the Mad River Valley, Vermont.
What is a Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse is a rare celestial event when the moon passes between the earth and the sun. It either partially, or totally, blocks the sun from view for a period of time, casting a shadow on part of the earth. During a partial solar eclipse, only part of the sun’s light is blocked from the earth, so it will not be fully dark. During a total solar eclipse, however, viewers are able to experience total darkness. If you want to experience total darkness during the 2024 total solar eclipse, you have to position yourself in the Path of Totality.
What and Where is the Path of Totality for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse?
The 2024 Total Solar Eclipse takes a path that starts in Mexico and Texas and moves all the way to Maine. Luckily for Vermonters, parts of Vermont are in the Path of Totality- places where the sun is entirely obscured by the moon and in total darkness for a period of time. The further you are away from the direct path of the sun, the less time you will be in totality. For an interactive map that shows the path of totality, viewing times, and events, click here.
The Mad River Valley is lucky to be positioned in the path of totality, and will be an amazing place to view the eclipse. While the MRV is near the edge of the path of totality, we will still get approximately 55 seconds to experience total darkness.
Vermont Total Solar Eclipse Timing
In the Mad River Valley, the eclipse starts at 2:14 pm. Totality is from 3:27:37-3:28:33 in Warren and at Sugarbush Resort. You will want to get to your chosen viewing location early! I expect folks will be setting up and claiming their viewing spots a few hours before the eclipse starts.
Eclipse Viewing Locations in the Mad River Valley
When choosing a location to view the eclipse, you will want to make sure that you will be able to see the sun at the time of the eclipse. That means that you want to choose a spot where the sun won’t be obscured from view by a mountain or tree line, or building.
As a Vermont Family Photographer, I know a thing or two about sunlight. I am a natural light photographer, which means that I do not use any flashes or external lighting in my work. I rely on the sun (or lack thereof) to create beautiful portraits of the families who work with me. In planning their photo session, I use special programs and apps to make sure that the light at the time of their photo session will be perfect based on the weather for that day and that the sun is in the right position at the chosen location. I am using these same programs to scout out the best eclipse viewing locations in the Mad River Valley.
One of my favorite location scouting programs is Google Earth Pro. Want to see how I use it so you can find your perfect viewing location? Sign up here for the link!
Another tip is to arrive at the Mad River Valley a couple of days prior to the eclipse to see where you might want to set up, or if you live here, do this in the week prior to the eclipse. Download a sun path app to your phone, and use the app at locations you like to make sure the sun will not be blocked by the mountain, trees, or a building. Be sure to respect landowners by not trespassing on private property.
The sun will be in a south-southwest position at the time of the eclipse, so be sure you have a view in that direction!
Sugarbush Resort is planning on having a solar eclipse viewing party, so I expect that will be a very popular spot for viewing! Check out their website for more information.
Solar Eclipse Viewing Safety
Viewing a total (or partial) solar eclipse takes some planning to make sure you view the sun safely. If you look at the eclipse without special viewing glasses, the sun will damage your eyes! Regular sunglasses won’t cut it, so make sure you purchase special safe solar viewing glasses that comply with the ISO 12321-2 international standard. Especially make sure your children are using the glasses properly, so that their eyesight is not damaged. You are able to remove the glasses for the period of totality, but then they need to go right back on! For more information on viewing the total solar eclipse in Vermont safely, click here.
Planning Your Trip to the Mad River Valley
Head on over to the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce website to find lodging, places to eat, and more things to do to make your trip memorable!
Early April weather in Vermont is a mixed bag- it could be sunny and 65 degrees, or we could have a snowstorm- it’s different every year so be sure to watch the weather in the week leading up to the eclipse so you can pack the necessary clothing and gear.
As a Vermont family photographer, I know how special these once in a lifetime moments are. And if you have kids, it will be even more fun to experience this with them! Check out my tips for viewing the total solar eclipse with your family.
To make your total solar eclipse trip to Vermont even more memorable, be sure to book a family photography session to commemorate this once in a lifetime occasion! I will have openings before and after the day of the eclipse, but April 8th will be dedicated to spending this once in a lifetime moment with my own kids. Sessions spots will go fast leading up to the eclipse, so book yours today!
Lincoln Gap Photography is a Vermont Family Photographer located in the heart of Vermont's Green Mountains in the town of Warren and serves all of Central Vermont including Warren, Waitsfield, Fayston, Moretown, Waterbury, Stowe, Montpelier, Berlin, Barre, Northfield, Richmond, Williston, and the Greater Burlington Area.