An out of this world event
On April 8, 2024, North America will experience a total solar eclipse—and the City of Watertown will have the ideal view for this once-in-a-lifetime event!
For the 2024 total solar eclipse, the “path of totality” will start south of the border before crossing into Texas and spreading northeast. After 3:00 PM, it moves over Cleveland, then Buffalo, then the south shores of Lake Ontario before heading into the Adirondacks. At approximately 3:22 PM, the City of Watertown will experience what’s known as “totality” for three minutes and 39 seconds.
The last solar eclipse in the United States happened in August of 2017—but it wasn’t a total eclipse in our area. In 2024, we have the best seats in the house!
"TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE PARK"
As one of the prime locations for viewing, the City of Watertown is excited to welcome visitors from across the country to witness the 2024 total solar eclipse!
On the day of the eclipse—April 8, 2024—"Total Eclipse of the Park," a large scale viewing event will take place at historic Thompson Park. With hundreds of acres of open space, Thompson Park provides the ideal location of unobstructed viewing. Thompson Park is an “Olmstead park,” designed by the group led by Frederick Law Olmstead, which was responsible for designing New York City’s Central Park, Boston Commons, the very first State Park in the nation at Niagara Falls and other famous spaces. For more on Thompson Park, click here.
In addition to "Total Eclipse of the Park" on April 8, other community events will take place during the preceding weekend. Please keep an eye on our website for updates!
frequently asked questions
What is a solar eclipse? A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun and the moon blocks the sun for a viewer on earth.
What is a total solar eclipse? During a total solar eclipse, the moon lines up perfectly to fully obscure the sun, resulting in what’s known as “totality."
What is the “path of totality?” This is the narrow track across the Earth along which the darkest part of the moon's shadow (known as the umbra) travels during a total solar eclipse. On either side of the path of totality an eclipse is only partial.
What will the view be like in Watertown? The moon will begin to cover the sun just after 2:00 PM. As time passes, viewers will see more of the sun covered by the moon, which is the “partial phase.” Totality will take place at 3:22 PM and will last three minutes and 39 seconds. For a preview of what the eclipse will look like, click here.
What is it like during a total solar eclipse? During the partial phases—these happen just before and after totality—the landscape will be covered by a dim light, along with sharp shadows. During totality, the sky becomes deeply dark and bright stars, as well as planets appear. You also may notice changes in temperature, wind speeds and animal behavior.
Do viewers need to take safety precautions? Eclipse viewing is safe and enjoyable—so long as you take a few simple precautions. It’s never safe to look directly at the sun’s rays, even if the sun is partially obscured. When viewing a partial eclipse, you must wear eclipse glasses at all times if you want to face the sun. This also applies during a total eclipse, up until the time when the sun is completely and totally blocked. During the time when the moon completely obscures the sun (the period of totality) it’s safe to look at the sun, but crucial that you know when to take off and put your glasses back on. For more, click here.
The April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse is expected to bring an extremely large influx of visitors into our region, If you are able to stay off the roads that day, it is encouraged.
Additionally, carpooling, walking or using the shuttle bus service to get to the event at Thompson Park is recommended. Please note, parking will not be permitted at the Park.
Given the unpredictable weather in the North Country, attendees should plan to bring extra layers, as well as check weather-related updates before heading to the event.
Weapons are not permitted at this event.