COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — You may recall a coast-to-coast total solar eclipse six years ago that was the most widely viewed in history, starting on the West Coast in Oregon and ending in South Carolina.

Fortunately, we only have to wait another year for a total solar eclipse. On Apr. 8, 2024, totality will stretch along a line from northern Mexico through portions of 15 states in the U.S., exiting northern Maine into southeastern Canada.

What’s different next year is that western and north-central Ohio will be in the path of totality, lasting about 3 minutes. The narrow corridor will cut through the northwest corner of Franklin County, north of Columbus, and include Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo – or roughly an area west of Interstate 71.

The last total solar eclipse in the U.S. on Aug. 21, 2017, had a path of totality of 70 miles wide through western Kentucky and parts of Tennessee.

In this zone, the moon blocked out 100% of the sun for a period of two minutes as it passed between the sun and Earth. In Columbus, about 86% of the sun was covered by the moon’s shadow around 2:30 p.m. during a partial solar eclipse.

Total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, viewed from Wyoming. (Photo: Don Stevens/Ohio Wesleyan University)

Incredibly, the last total solar eclipse visible in the northwest corridor of Ohio occurred on June 16, 1806.

The last coast-to-coast total solar eclipse visible across portions of the contiguous 48 states prior to Aug. 2017 occurred in June 1918. A total solar eclipse on Feb. 26, 1979, intersected the Pacific Northwest.

“Diamond ring” effect at totality, Aug. 21, 2017. (Photo: Don Stevens/Ohio Wesleyan University)

During a solar eclipse, the outer atmosphere of the sun — the corona — offers a stunning reveal, when the solar disk is completely blotted out. Solar prominences — glowing plumes of gas — are easily observed through telescopes on the outer edge or limb of the Sun.

Seeing the solar eclipse will require sunny to partly cloudy conditions, said Don Stevens, the director of Perkins Observatory, located at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware.

“April showers bring May flowers,” Stevens said. “There’s a good reason for that saying. April is usually a cloudy month.”

This coming fall, an annular solar eclipse will occur on Oct. 14, 2023, from the Pacific Northwest to Texas. In an annular eclipse, the moon travels between the sun and Earth when its position is farthest away from our planet, thereby incompletely covering the sun, which leaves the outer edge of the solar disk visible the entire time.

The standard warning to not view the sun directly always applies under any circumstance, because serious eye damage and permanently impaired vision can occur in seconds, if a person were to look directly at the sun.

Of course, you have plenty of time to acquire protective (ISO-certified) eclipse-viewing glasses in time for next year’s event.