On April 8th 2024 Terre Haute will be in the line of totality for the Eclipse. The last solar eclipse in Indiana was 819 years ago!
During a total solar eclipse, the Moon’s shadow is cast upon the Earth. There are two parts to this shadow – an outer shadow that covers a wide region creating a partial eclipse, and a much smaller central shadow that creates the total eclipse. As the Earth rotates, the central shadow creates a thin path known as the path of totality. Terre Haute is located within the path of totality, meaning our community along with visitors will experience nature’s most amazing spectacle – a total eclipse of the Sun! Often the total eclipse is the single largest event to occur within a region, attracting major crowds and media interest on a scale never previously experienced.
For the past year, a community-wide committee has been working on plans to capture the essence of the eclipse. They have been working diligently to plan events for residents and visitors to the Wabash Valley. These events include:
Friday, April 5 – First Friday at The Swope
Make plans to stop by The Swope for a hands-on art opportunity surrounding the upcoming Eclipse.
April 6, 2024 - Music of the Heavens with the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra
Celebrating Terre Haute’s total solar eclipse in April 2024, the THSO joins the community’s A Total Eclipse of the Haute collaborative event. The symphony will perform a wide variety of musical styles including selections from The Planets by Gustav Holst, John Williams favorites like E.T. and Star Wars, music from Apollo 13 by James Horner, the X-Files theme, and much more heavenly music. Integrated video projections will take us out of this world!
April 5 to 7 – A Total Eclipse of the Haute: The Exhibit at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum
This exhibit features lots of hands-on activities to spark interest in the eclipse and educate the general public about the significance of the eclipse in 2024. In the exhibit, children can play with shadows, explore the lunar landscape, watch a short video about the 2017 eclipse, and, learn about the distance between the Sun and the Moon and their relationship to Earth. There will also be the chance to dress up like an Astronaut. In addition, there are labels with “Parent Notes” to help parents better understand how their child comprehends these ideas.
Monday, April 8 – Community Viewing Parties
Working in collaboration with the Terre Haute City Parks, Vigo County Parks Department, The Swope Art Museum, Arts Illiana, Community School of the Arts, Riverscape, Purdue Extension, the Terre Haute Children’s Museum and the Vigo County Public Library, five area parks are being considered for Community Viewing Parties the day of the eclipse. These will be wonderful locations to spend the day, learn about the science of the eclipse, enjoy some art surrounding this once-in-a-lifetime experience and spend time with family and friends.
Monday, April 8 – Central Christian Church
Central Christian Church will be hosting a solar festival on April 8. Gates will open at 11 am. There will be food vendors and scientific children’s activities. They are also excited to offer karaoke with a celestial theme. The price is $20/vehicle. Reservations are required and non-refundable.
Other events are being planned for the weekend including an event at The Mill, a downtown festival and a fly-in at the Terre Haute Regional Airport. As event details become more concrete, iinformation will be available on the CVB website. In the meantime, on April 8, 2023, make sure you go outside at 3 p.m. to see where the sun is located to give you an idea of where the Eclipse will be.
If you remember, the 2017 partial solar eclipse also occurred in Wabash Valley. This 2024 event will be totally different. 99% coverage is not the same as 100%. According to the American Astronomical Society, the Sun's corona, a crown of light surrounding the sun, is always there, but we usually can’t see it because the sun's bright light drowns it out. When the Moon covers the Sun, the corona is definitely the main attraction. It is sculpted into streamers and loops by the Sun’s powerful magnetic field and shines with a light seen nowhere else. It is hauntingly beautiful and, without doubt, one of the most awesome sights in all of nature, but there’s so much more to the experience.
At the beginning and end of totality, the thin middle layer of the Sun’s atmosphere, the chromosphere, blazes in an arc of ruby red. The sky darkens to a deep twilight blue, with yellow, orange, and pink sunrise/sunset colors on the horizon in all directions. Bright stars and planets shine forth, and the air temperature drops noticeably. Birds and farm animals, thinking dusk has settled, return to their nests and barns, and bats come out to feed.
It is an experience that should not be missed. It is an event that will happen whether or not we prepare for it. So individuals, businesses, educational organizations, and the community should put this on their calendars and plan to view this rare and phenomenal event.