Skip to content
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 34 years
and the TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals

No TidBITS Issue on 8 April 2024 for the Solar Eclipse

Tonya and I have never had the opportunity to view a total solar eclipse before, so on 8 April 2024, instead of publishing an email issue of TidBITS, we will be driving an hour or two north to be in the path of the totality. The other reason to take that issue off is that I’m directing the Skunk Cabbage Classic 10K and Half Marathon the day before the eclipse, and I need to focus on the final details for an 800-runner race this week.

Once life returns to its usual routines, I’ll get back to publishing articles on our website in advance of our next email issue on 15 April 2024. TidBITS Talk discussions will undoubtedly continue throughout all this. To keep up, visit our site or subscribe to our RSS feed—remember that TidBITS members get a full-text feed.

Subscribe today so you don’t miss any TidBITS articles!

Every week you’ll get tech tips, in-depth reviews, and insightful news analysis for discerning Apple users. For over 33 years, we’ve published professional, member-supported tech journalism that makes you smarter.

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. The Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Comments About No TidBITS Issue on 8 April 2024 for the Solar Eclipse

Notable Replies

  1. If I didn’t know you any better, I would think this was an April Fool’s announcement. But given one part of my family is flying to Austin, Texas, for the eclipse, I will assume we are steady as she goes on truth!

  2. Clear Skies!

    (Pay no attention to the umbrella…)

  3. Oh, gawd, I remember that eclipse! Our mother helped us make us these pin-hole-projection boxes to view it safely, because we only got the partial.

  4. 1963 was well before I was born, but I am a huge Peanuts fan, and that week’s strips (leading up to the eclipse) were always a favorite of mine and I remember them every time there’s an eclipse in the news.

  5. My late wife and I drove from Oroville, CA to Eugene, OR in 2017 to see that one. It was a several hours trip and an overnight stay for something that lasted less than an hour, but it was nice. Her second cousin lives in Oxford, NY and is going with her son and his family to some property he owns in the Adirondacks (near Moxham Mountain) which is right under the center part of the eclipse track. Out here in Prescott, AZ we’ll only get a partial eclipse.

  6. When I was a kid in NY, we had one come near (but not total) in 1970. We made pinhole projectors in school as well, all that, and I hoped that someday I’d travel somewhere to see a total eclipse.

    I’m finally doing it, as next week’s will be total in VT where my son lives. (It will also be total in northern Maine near where by brother-in-law has a ski place, but that was Plan B.) I’ve been planning this one since the last total eclipse in the US in 2017.

    (Knock wood - so far extended forecasts look good.)

  7. Good luck and clear skies!

    It’s not looking very good at my destination. Oh, well…

  8. Well that’s a shame, because it was apparently wasted on my siblings, older and younger. None of them remember it or the Peanuts series (thank you for the fond reminder). I remembered it vividly, and wanted to see totality for years. Weather permitting, this will be my second one.

  9. Good for you! I hope you enjoy the experience. I am fortunate enough to live on a farm in the the path of totality of this once in a lifetime event, so I don’t have to travel anywhere. I am just praying for good weather.

  10. It looks like you won’t need to travel far to be in totality.

    In 1999, I viewed the eclipse from Devon, England, just out of totality. Even thought there was 100% cloud cover, it was light enough to see the discs overlap. The reaction of wildlife (and the streetlights) was amazing.

  11. Headed to the eclipse myself. My family is gathering at my sister’s since she lives inside the path of totality. Email me if you need a place to observe from. We will have a small telescope and several large binoculars projecting images.

    The 2017 eclipse was my first totality and it was amazing.

  12. Enjoy the eclipse! I am flying from Amsterdam to Austin this week to see it. It will be my 4th total eclipse and the 2nd in the US. 2017 near Yellowstone was awesome.

  13. Yes, everything I say in this article is completely true! I was pushing hard all day yesterday to finish the issue (and my monthly TidBITS Content Network content drop, and get yard signs—created in Canva—posted to warn drivers of the race next Sunday), so I didn’t even consider that people would read the article as an April Fools joke.

    I’m quite looking forward to the eclipse—we’ve never seen one at all before, and having totality just a short drive away was impossible to pass up. I’ve also been focused on it since late last year with the planning for the Skunk Cabbage Classic race, since the theme I came up with is “Total Eclipse of the Skunk.” (Despite the race being named for the skunk cabbage plant, at some point in its history, we’ve ended up with a skunk mascot.)

    Along with the similar sounds of “sun” and “skunk,” the other trigger for the name was Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 song Total Eclipse of the Heart. As a child of the 80s, I was familiar with the song, but even more amusing was the 2009 literal music video, which changes the song’s lyrics to describe the scenes of the surrealist music video.

  14. Last year the annular solar eclipse occurred on the same day as our end-of-season fall race. (It was only a partial eclipse at the race site.) The race director bought eclipse glasses and placed them at all the aid stations. It was a hit!

  15. This would have been such a great April Fools – no TidBITS edition on April 8 because the eclipse would prevent you from seeing your computer screens.

  16. So very disappointed you didn’t go with the headline: “TidBITS Goes Dark for Solar Eclipse”…a pun is a terrible thing to waste!

  17. For you eclipse enthusiasts, especially those traveling to experience totality, I’d reccommend this YouTube video from one of my favorite channels, “Smarter Every Day.” It’s 22 minutes long, and has lots of practical information on what to watch for and how to plan.

  18. From Stowe, VT, with an iPhone camera, somewhat miraculously. (And it was about 100% 1000% [edit: left out a zero] cooler than the photo looks.) A bucket list item for me for sure.

  19. I agree! While some pictures may be awesome, they are nothing compared to seeing the total eclipse with your own eyes.

  20. I watched totality come and go on a webcam feed from Stowe at the Trapp Family Lodge. Obviously a very second-rate experience compared to being there, but from sunny (1/3 obscured) southern California, it was the best I could do. It did look very cool, nonetheless.

    I was surprised how suddenly the darkness came and went. I guess I was thinking of a normal sunset/rise, but the ramps from light to dark and back to light were much quicker that that. And I could see (or at least, I imagined I could see) the huge shadow of the moon moving away in the sky even after totality had mostly passed for those on the ground.

  21. Yes! If you glanced at the sun without proper protection when it was nothing but even the smallest sliver it still looked like the sun - round. It did slowly get darker and cooler once the eclipse started at 2:15, about 72 minutes before totality (it was a very pleasant temperature for April in Stowe) but then the darkness was sudden - and the corona was obvious to the naked eye. There was a small but clear red solar prominence to us at about 7:00 (if the sun was a 12 hour clock), and the horizon all around appeared much like it does at dusk, and we could even see what I thought were stars, but others around me said were probably planets. Totality was about 3 minutes and then it brightened up again in reverse to how it darkened.

    I was just up the road from Trapp at the Alchemist Brewery with a good crowd of people.

    The worst part of the eclipse: my daughter, who had to be home in southern NH, took over two hours to drive from Stowe to Waterbury (normally about 20 minutes) and was still in Vermont about 7 hours after she left, and arrived home after 9.5 hours. Normally it takes 2 hours 20 minutes.

  22. Venus was to the upper right, Jupiter, lower-right and a comet was theoretically visible between the sun and Jupiter, but I don’t know anyone who saw it.

  23. I admit to being an odd duck. I’ve seen a couple of near-total solar eclipses, and I find the most interesting/affecting thing to be the character of the light all around me as the eclipse advances, not so much the disc of the eclipse itself.

    Shadows are as crisp and hard-edged as they typically are in the mid-day sun, but the light is dimmed without taking on the reddish hues of dawn or dusk. Colors are drained. Overall, I find this desaturation effect to be a bit otherworldly, perhaps even unsettling.

  24. A disco ball also works:

  25. Here’s the image projected by a telescope at about 5 minutes after the maximum. The dark spot near the edge of the Moon is a sunspot. You can also see the shadow of mountains on the edge.

  26. Venus was to the west (right) of the Sun; Jupiter was to the east (left).

    Here is a screen shot from Stellarium with the box showing the field of view of a 35mm lens.

  27. I’m tragically short of disco balls.

  28. Thanks for identifying the planets. I saw both. and was sure the closer one on the right was Venus, but wasn’t sure of the other. A great spectacle. We saw it from St. Johnsbury, VT. Lots of other people up there were from Massachusetts, and the guy who parked next to us turned out to live just a few blocks away from us, but we had never met before.

  29. From Cambridge, MA, using my 15 Pro hand held with eclipse glasses (best I could do, I’m afraid).

  30. An all too common malady of modern life.

    Sadly, in Oswego on the shore of Lake Ontario, it was rather cloudy, so although it was neat, and we got some slivers of the eclipse through the clouds, it wasn’t all that impressive. More interesting was the dark-light transition in the long views over the lake.

    But we had a really nice day playing hooky with friends and because we took back (well, normal for us) roads north to Oswego, there was no traffic at all.

  31. With the cloud cover predicted, we opted to remain home where we got about 80% and watched NASA present the eclipse repeatedly from Mexico to Maine. On the big screen the view was good, and especially good when they showed it just as it was becoming darkest where we live. With a little imagination, we could almost believe we were seeing it in person.

  32. “Lower-right” was a typo. Jupiter Lower-left. They were oriented more 2 o’clock - 8 o’clock…at least in Mazatlan.

  33. One was probably Venus, but there was one to the right and down from that as well. Saturn? I don’t recall seeing anything to the left of the sun/moon.

    There was some high, thin cloud cover.

  34. If what you were viewing with inverted the image it could have been Saturn? Mars and Saturn were relatively close together, w/ Saturn 1.13 vs Mars 1.16 Mag. If it was naked-eye, I don’t have a guess.

    My wife and the rest of our party saw Venus & Jupiter. I only saw Venus; Jupiter was clouded when I took my eye away from the camera screen.

  35. Viewing with just my eyes.

    Here’s a still from a video that my wife was taking.

    And this is from Stellarium showing Stowe VT at 15:27.

    So that one object down and to the right (hard to see, but it’s there) in the still must have been Venus. Again, as I recall, there was another object down and to the right of that - it doesn’t show in the video. It must have been Saturn.

    I really don’t recall seeing Jupiter, or anything “above” or to the left of the eclipse.

  36. Yes, that’s what SkySafari showed there (and what it really looked like). Looking back in Starry Night and SkySafari back home, I am really surprised (but shouldn’t be*) how much the planets relationships change in that short trip.

    *(I blame it on my fever - yes, we came back with COVID.)

  37. Holy cow! Was that photo from your phone or did you have a camera attached to a telescope? I’ve never seen an eclipse photo showing prominences before, beyond what I’ve seen printed in books.

  38. THANKS! It was a Canon EOS 5D MK II w/ EF 70-200 ƒ/2.8 Image Stabilized lens (hand-held, actually the easy part). The most hectic bracketing I’ve shot in my entire career w/ the light changing so fast. Then there was the sudden realization, "Oh, Hell, I gotta’ get this damn solar filter off FAST!

    It is a pretty tight crop unfortunately (Venus and/or Jupiter could be in the whole frame, but the dynamic range for them wasn’t… I don’t think…that was a quickie-processing job to text back to friends).

    My three regrets of that trip:

    1. Not doing a practice solar run at home w/ the Thousand Oaks Solar Filter.
    2. Not taking my wife up on the suggestion to buy a longer lens just for the trip.
    3. Really not arguing harder for taking my 8" Cassegrain… ;~}

    And, yeah, COVID wasn’t so much fun, but IT WAS WORTH IT!

    A relevant statistic, now that it’s all sorted, and folks either got sick or did not: Three persons on that trip were fully up-to-date on all available COVID vaccinations. Three people, simply due to lack of immediacy or 'round tuits, were short just the very latest. Of course, those last were the only ones who got sick, but all were fairly mild. At least one person is kicking himself in the ass.

  39. We had a similar experience in Geneva but enjoyed our weekend just the same. Coincidentally, we had dinner at Kindred Fare the night before.

  40. Off-by-one! It would have been a hoot to run into other TidBITS readers in person.

Join the discussion in the TidBITS Discourse forum


Avatar for ace Avatar for glennf Avatar for hartley Avatar for silbey Avatar for aforkosh Avatar for jeff1 Avatar for romad Avatar for MrRuffles Avatar for steveeight Avatar for utility2 Avatar for managan1 Avatar for ddmiller Avatar for chirano Avatar for fischej Avatar for mcohen Avatar for Shamino Avatar for edwinmathlener Avatar for josehill Avatar for david_blanchard Avatar for Will_B