What is a total eclipse of the Sun?
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, casting its shadow over a portion of the Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon completely blocks the disk of the Sun. Every spot on the Earth experiences a total solar eclipse about once every 375 years, on average.
The eclipse starts as the Moon begins to cover the Sun. The world darkens, not completely black but dark enough that animals and plants are fooled into settling down for the night. Just before the Moon completely covers the Sun, we see "Baily's Beads", flashes of the Sun seen between the mountains of the Moon. The last bead forms the "diamond ring": a single bright spot plus a halo of light around the Moon. Finally, the Sun is completely covered. This is the only time we can see the corona, the region of plasma that surrounds the Sun.
How do we view a Solar eclipse?
During the initial period of partial eclipse, it is (as always) dangerous to look directly at the Sun. We'll use special eclipse filters to watch the progress. During totality, however, you can look directly at the black hole in the sky where the Moon covers the Sun, and watch the solar corona and prominences.
Everything necessary for safe eclipse viewing and photography will be explained in advance, with optional "Eclipse 101" lectures for those who want all the details.
Why Texas? Why not Boston, say, or Israel?
Since you must travel to see the eclipse, and since you don't want to miss it, you may as well dance!
If you want to organize the next Hora Eclipse somewhere in Israel, go for it! On us, however, you shouldn't count. The next total solar eclipse visible in Tel Aviv will be August 5 2548; in Jerusalem, August 8 2241; in Eilat, November 17 2180. Haifa is out of luck until sometime after the year 3000.
What if it's cloudy?
A few clouds won't matter. If the day is completely overcast, we will see nothing. No refunds will be offered.
(Our HEK2024 location was chosen in part for its good weather prospects—only about 10% chance of clouds.)
I want to know more!
There are many websites where you can learn all about eclipses. Here are a few: NASA's page about eclipses in general and our specific eclipse of April 8, 2024, a site about the eclipse experience, a good page about eclipse science, and a general resource site. You can also send questions to email@example.com. Eclipse experts are standing by.
We'll have a session at camp where everything will be explained in as much detail as you like—probably in more detail than you like. If you're lucky, we'll also have a session on why the latest sunset isn't on the same day as the summer solstice, for those of you really getting into this.