Bull Shoals Lake Solar Eclipse 2024




The Bull Shoals Lake solar eclipse 2024 on April 8 will be a total solar eclipse. Bull Shoals Lake lies on the border of Arkansas and Missouri. Dr. Clay Sherrod of Arkansas Sky Observatories, an independent science outreach organization, feels fortunate this eclipse’s path of totality is passing dead center right over the observatory. 

This observatory is located on Petit Jean Mountain about 140 miles south of Bull Shoals Lake a few miles west of Morrilton, Arkansas. Dr. Sherrod reports that this is the longest lasting total eclipse that has occurred in the U.S. since we began recording eclipses in North America. He says the path of totality includes the Bull Shoals region and a wide swath of Arkansas.  

Much of the information in this article comes from Dr. Sherrod’s lecture in June 2023 at the Bull Shoals Library, 1218 Central Boulevard, Bull Shoals, Arkansas, on the southern end of Bull Shoals Lake. The Bull Shoals region will witness two-minutes and 23-seconds of totality, but at the center line of the path of totality, the totality will last 4-minutes and 16-seconds over Petit Jean Mountain. 

The U.S. experienced a partial eclipse in 2017, including Arkansas. The total eclipse path through Arkansas is 75-miles wide. But, the path of totality is much smaller than the entire eclipse. The closer you are to the center of the path of totality is where you will see the entire length of the total eclipse. The two minutes and 23 seconds expected in 2024 in Bull Shoals is the average length of time for the totality phase. 

History of Eclipses

When the eclipse in the Bull Shoals region hits the phase of totality, darkness will come upon the region instantly. It will not be gradual, like twilight and sunset happen. It will go from light to dark immediately. You will see the stars just like at nighttime. Only 200 years ago, people were afraid of eclipses. Now that scientists understand them, eclipses are seen as awe-inspiring pleasures for today’s viewers. 

Bull Shoals Lake and the parts of Arkansas in the path of the eclipse are ready to welcome all the visitors coming to see the eclipse for the memory of a lifetime. Thousands of years ago, people blamed things like famines, weather events, and diseases in humans and livestock on eclipses. The ancient Chinese described eclipses as the “The sun has been eaten”.

The priests and advisors to the Chinese Emperors and the Egyptian Pharaohs were expected to predict their eclipse events, or death awaited them. Around the second century B.C., the Chinese invented fireworks. These Chinese and Egyptian advisors began using fireworks during the eclipse, and the moon would shortly spit out the sun, but they did not know that. Before the fireworks, it was death for the non-predictions.

There are ancient Chinese paintings of dragons eating the sun. The sun is energy and one of the few sources of energy in ancient times, so you can understand why eclipses freaked people out, and they still freak out the animals. Birds might quiet down, and some animals may change eating and sleeping habits at this point. Dr. Sherrod said that a vertigo feeling is common during an eclipse and some people stumble. 

Eclipse Facts

The moon orbits the earth eastward in 27.3 days as the earth rotates, and the earth orbits around the sun. As the earth turns, the view of the eclipse travels from west to east, which is the moon's shadow on earth. The earth, moon, and sun have to be perfectly lined up for an eclipse to occur. 

They also have to be level with each other, the moon and the sun have to appear to be the same size, and it has to be daytime for us to witness it. The moon is 2,300-miles across and orbits the earth in a geometric elongated circle, not a perfect circle. Sometimes the moon is closer to the earth than other times. 

When the moon is closer to the earth and an eclipse happens, this produces an annular eclipse because the moon does not appear to be as big as the sun. The sun is estimated to be one million miles across. When the moon is further away from the earth and lines up, it appears to be as big as the sun and creates a total eclipse. 

It is possible to follow the eclipse for the whole time it is happening for four or five hours. NASA does that during every eclipse. The eclipse travels at 2,000 MPH in a 75-mile wide swath. NASA has a stratospheric plane that it launches from Houston. NASA pilots fly in the shadow of the moon and follow it as long as they can to record it, and they take tons of video and photographs. 

Come November and December 2023, advertising will begin bombarding consumers in the path of totality by trying to sell everything under the sun that you can view the eclipse with. These ads will make promises, so be aware. Dr Sherrod advises, “…leave this garbage alone…because all you need…for a lifelong memory is a good pair of eyeballs…The nice thing about an eclipse, it’s free!”  

According to NASA, the oldest recording of a total solar eclipse is thought to have been recorded in petroglyphs at the Loughcrew Megalithic Monument in County Meath, Ireland, on November 30, 3340 B.C. in the Neolithic era. 

NASA’s Shortened Time Table for the April 8, 2024, U.S. Total Eclipse

Location

Partial Begins

Totality Begins

Maximum

Totality Ends

Partial Ends

Dallas, Texas

12:23 p.m. CDT

1:40 p.m. CDT

1:42 p.m. CDT

1:44 p.m. CDT

3:02 p.m. CDT

Idabel, Oklahoma

12:28 p.m. CDT

1:45 p.m. CDT

1:47 p.m. CDT

1:49 p.m. CDT

3:06 p.m. CDT

Little Rock, Arkansas

12:33 p.m. CDT

1:51 p.m. CDT

1:52 p.m. CDT

1:54 p.m. CDT

3:11 p.m. CDT

Poplar Bluff, Missouri

12:39 p.m. CDT

1:56 p.m. CDT

1:56 p.m. CDT

2:00 p.m. CDT

3:15 p.m. CDT

Paducah, Kentucky

12:42 p.m. CDT

2:00 p.m. CDT

2:01 p.m. CDT

2:02 p.m. CDT

3:18 p.m. CDT

Evansville, Indiana

12:45 p.m. CDT

2:02 p.m. CDT

2:04 p.m. CDT

2:05 p.m. CDT

3:20 p.m. CDT

Cleveland, Ohio

1:59 p.m. EDT

3:13 p.m. EDT

3:15 p.m. EDT

3:17 p.m. EDT

4:29 p.m. EDT

Erie, Pennsylvania

2:02 p.m. EDT

3:16 p.m. EDT

3:18 p.m. EDT

3:20 p.m. EDT

4:30 p.m. EDT

Buffalo, New York

2:04 p.m. EDT

3:18 p.m. EDT

3:20 p.m. EDT

3:22 p.m. EDT

4:32 p.m. EDT

Burlington, Vermont

2:14 p.m. EDT

3:26 p.m. EDT

3:27 p.m. EDT

3:29 p.m. EDT

4:37 p.m. EDT

Lancaster, New Hampshire

2:16 p.m. EDT

3:27 p.m. EDT

3:29 p.m. EDT

3:30 p.m. EDT

4:38 p.m. EDT

Caribou, Maine

2:22 p.m. EDT

3:32 p.m. EDT

3:33 p.m. EDT

3:34 p.m. EDT

4:40 p.m. EDT

 

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