Rochester Eclipse: Your questions answered

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — On Monday, April 8, the skies over Rochester will go completely dark as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth during the total solar eclipse.

News10NBC is Rochester’s Eclipse Headquarters and has answers to your questions on the eclipse, from the time it takes place to where to get eclipse glasses. You can see more of our eclipse coverage here.


Where and when will the eclipse take place?

All of Monroe County and most of the region will be in the eclipse’s path of totality. You can see if your area will be in the path here. On eclipse day, skies will start to get dark at 2:07 p.m. Totality starts at 3:20 p.m. and will last for 3 minutes and 38 seconds in the city, a bit longer and shorter in some other places. Skies will return to normal around 4:33 p.m.

What is the path of totality?

It’s the path of the moon’s shadow on the Earth. If you’re in the path during the eclipse, the sun will appear completely covered by the moon.

In the U.S., Texas will be the first state to see the eclipse within the path of totality. Once it reaches Western New York, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse all fall within the path, which is more than 100 miles wide. The duration of totality will be different depending on your location within the path. You can read more here.

Which parts of the Rochester area will experience the longest totality?

The SUNY Brockport campus will get an extra five seconds of darkness compared to the City of Rochester. That’s because the campus is located directly on the center line of the eclipse’s path of totality. You can read more here.

You can see other places that are on the path’s center line here. They include Bradock Bay in Greece, areas south of Hilton, and parts of southern Orleans County.

What if its cloudy during the eclipse?

Even if its cloudy during the eclipse, the skies will still get dark, says Jim Bader, the director of the Rochester Museum and Science Center.

In addition, the temperature will still drop dramatically and the animals will still be fooled into thinking it’s nighttime. Crickets may start chirping, spiders may start taking down their webs, and birds may fly back to their nests. You can read more here.


Where can you get the glasses needed to view the eclipse?

To watch the eclipse, you’ll need a pair of eclipse glasses to protect your eyes while staring at the sun. There are multiple places where you can buy eclipse glasses including the gift shop at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Just make sure that the glasses are certified by the International Standards Organization. You can find out where to get the glasses here.

Can staring at the eclipse damage your eyes?

Yes, because look at the sun even briefly can damage eyesight. Consider this: On a normal sunny day, if you were to look up at the sun, you’d probably squint or the brightness would cause you to quickly look away. But the eclipse can fool the eye into being able to look at the sun for a longer period of time. Read more here.

When is it okay to take off eclipse glasses?

You can look up without glasses only when we are experiencing totality, that’s when the moon is completely covering the sun and will happen around 3:20 p.m. in the Rochester area. Read more here.

Can you build a homemade eclipse viewer?

If you don’t have a pair of eclipse glasses, you can build your own device with common household materials. First Alert Meteorologist Glenn Johnson has a step-by-step guide to building a safe and effective eclipse viewer. Click here.


Where can I find a list of viewing parties and events leading up to the eclipse?

News10NBC has your guide to viewing parties and celebrations leading up to eclipse. Some of the locations for viewing parties includes the Rochester Museum and Science Center, Stokoe Farms in Scottsville, SUNY Brockport, the Rochester Public Market, and Innovative Field. You can see the list here.


Will all school districts in Monroe County cancel classes on April 8?

Yes. Brighton was the final district to announce that it will cancel classes for the eclipse. Brighton says it decided to close and join all other school districts after reviewing new information such as day care closures and the availability of snow days. You can read more here.

Will Wegmans close on April 8?

Wegmans stores in the Rochester area will close from 3 to 3 p.m. the day of the eclipse. Wegmans says closing will give its employees to opportunity to watch the once-in-a-lifetime event. You can see a list of Wegmans that will close here.

Will some workplaces give employees the day off?

Some workplaces are preparing to give their employees the day off to avoid dealing with the congestion the eclipse is sure to bring.

Robert Burns with Sunnking in Brockport told News10NBC it’s best to have employees off for the day. They’ve come up with a solution: Give their staff, the day off with pay and they won’t have to use a vacation day. Read more here.


When was the last total solar eclipse in Rochester and when will the next one be?

Rochester’s last total solar eclipse was 99 years ago, on Jan. 25, 1925. The next time the United States will be on the path of totality again will be in 2044. However, the next time Rochester will be on the path is over two centuries from now, in the year 2144. You can read more here.

Total solar eclipse (file)

Did the Pont De Rennes Bridge really crack during the last eclipse in Rochester?

During the eclipse in 1925, nearly 2,000 people gathered on the Pont De Rennes Bridge downtown to watch it. It was Rochester’s first total solar eclipse on record.

On that day, a headline from the now-defunct Rochester Herald reads “River Bridge Cracks under Strain of Eclipse Fans” Did the bridge really crack? Find out here.


How could the eclipse impact dogs?

Is it possible that a dog could look at the sun during the eclipse and get blinded? Dr. William Murphy from the Westside Animal Hospital says its possible but very unlikely. However, he says the crowds and an interruption to dogs’ routine, like darkness in the middle of the day, could cause stress. Read more here.

Will Seneca Park Zoo study how the eclipse impacts its animals?

The Seneca Park Zoo is one of only a few zoos in the path of totality and it plans to research how animals respond. Zookeepers will be paying very close attention and recording animal behaviors that they witness. They’ve also installed audio recording devices in a number of exhibits to hear what sounds the animals make and how they communicate during totality. Read more here


How can I safely photograph the solar eclipse?

If you want to capture the eclipse on your camera or your phone, you’ll need a filter to protect you from the sun. George Eastman Museum’s Technology Director Damien Spader explains what kinds of filters or lenses you’ll need. Read more here.

Do you need a special filter to view the eclipse through a telescope?

If you plan to view the eclipse through a telescope, you will need to attach a solar filter to the front of your telescope to protect your eyes from the sun. Here’s what you need to know about adding solar filters and where to get them.


What’s the difference between April’s eclipse and the one back in 2017?

In August of 2017, Western New York experienced a partial solar eclipse because we weren’t on the path of totality. This April, because the moon will completely block the sun around Rochester, creating a total solar eclipse.

For April’s eclipse, the path of totality is more than 100 miles wide and includes the Rochester area. It covers a more populated area, with 31 million people living in the path of totality this year. In 2017, it was less than half that. You can learn more here.

The difference between an annular and total solar eclipse?

On Saturday, Oct. 14, there was an eclipse in Rochester but why didn’t it get as much hype? It’s because it was only an annular eclipse, with 20% of the sun blocked instead of the entire sun. The moon was too far away from the Earth to block the completely sun, so it just created a ring of light around the moon. Read more here.


How is police preparing for crowds and traffic during the eclipse?

The Rochester area is expected to welcome between 300,000 and 500,000 visitors for the eclipse. With all those people comes hundreds of thousands of cars too.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Deruyter and Rochester Police Department Public Information Officer Greg Bello explain how their departments are preparing for an increase in crowds and traffic. Read more here.


How did the solar eclipse help to prove Einstein’s theory of relativity?

Solar eclipses have helped to prove multiple scientific discoveries, including Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Einstein developed the theory in 1915 but it was just words on paper. In 1919, it was put to the test for the first time during a total solar eclipse. The chance to look directly at the sun, something with a huge gravitational pull, was a perfect test. Jim Bader at the Rochester Museum and Science Center explains how the eclipse helped and why Einstein’s theory is important for modern technology. Read more here.