For the first time in thirty-eight years, a total solar eclipse graced the North American continent. It wasn’t the first eclipse of its kind since 1979, but it was the first one to appear across the contiguous forty-eight United States. And with one hundred percent totality hitting eleven of those states from coast to coast, millions of Americans had an opportunity to witness one of nature’s most astounding celestial events.
Here in Charlotte, North Carolina—which experienced about 98% totality—people gathered at eclipse parties, in cul-de-sacs, parking lots, on the rooftop of the local Discovery Place museum, and even the Carolina Panthers gathered on the field at Bank of America Stadium for the chance to take a peek skyward. The early twilight that fell across the area, complete with the chirping of cicadas and Total Eclipse of the Heart (My eclipse playlist included Ground Control to Major Tom. What about yours?), offered a break from the heat of the day. The event peaked around 2:41 pm, but the moon’s progression across the sun could be seen as early as 1:15, or thereabout.
If you missed out on the Great American Eclipse, there’s no need to worry. Even if you didn’t miss it, don’t get rid of those coveted eclipse glasses just yet: There will be another total solar eclipse in 2024—only a mere 2,421 days away!