Why I'm going to Rochester NY to see my 1st-ever total solar eclipse

Rochester skyline showing trees and shrubs in the foreground, a waterfall in the center and tall buildings in the background.
Rochester will be a hub of eclipse festivities. (Image credit: Nicholas Klein via Getty Images)

Living in the U.K., I've had very little opportunity to see a total solar eclipse. The only one to occur in my lifetime was in 1999 but I lived outside the path of totality, the clouds hampered any partial eclipse viewing efforts and there was very little to see. 

But not this time!

I've decided to head to Rochester, NY, to experience the state's first total solar eclipse in 99 years at the ROC the Eclipse Festival.

Located within the path of totality, a 115-mile-wide (185-kilometer) route through North America where the moon will cover 100% of the sun's disk, the city of Rochester, is an ideal place to witness the upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8.

Related: 10 things you probably didn't know about the 2024 total solar eclipse

I'll be just one of several hundred thousand people flocking to the vibrant city with the hope of seeing something truly extraordinary.

"We are anticipating 300k-500k visitors across the Greater Rochester region (a nine-county area)" Rachel Laber Pulvino, Director of Market Communications and Public Relations, Visit Rochester, told Space.com. 

And it comes as no surprise why people are choosing to head to Rochester for the big day. It is one of the largest U.S. cities in the path of totality and will enjoy 3 minutes and 39 seconds of daytime darkness, starting at 3:20 p.m. EDT. 

Rochester is hosting more than two dozen events over the "eclipse weekend" leading up to the big day with hands-on activities, speakers, music and food sure to get everyone totally excited about totality! 

Here's a list of just some of the entertainment available over the weekend:

  •  Planetarium shows  
  • Live stage entertainment lineups including the "Bad Astronomer" Dr. Phil Plait, geo-communicator Cate Larsen and former NASA astronaut Lee M. Morin 
  • Electricity theater shows with singing tesla coils (yes you heard that right) 
  • Solar viewing through telescopes  
  • Post-eclipse concert with country sensation Dylan Marlowe right after totality at 3:30 p.m. EDT. 

Organizers have been planning the eclipse in Rochester since the last total solar eclipse in 2017. 

A total solar eclipse is a sight to behold. This photograph shows the sequence of a total solar eclipse as the sun becomes obscured by the moon. (Image credit: Alan Dyer/VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images)

"Hundreds of community organizations, venues, attractions, restaurants and hotels have been planning for this event — and we cannot wait to welcome eclipse visitors to our city!" Pulvino continued. 

With so many visitors expected to head to Rochester for the eclipse, safety is the number one priority. Organizers have been working closely with local law enforcement, offices of emergency management and the New York State Department of Transportation. 

"Public safety officials have been working and planning in conjunction with one another on traffic and safety. Monroe County has also just issued a public awareness campaign, Be Aware. Be Prepared. Be There, to help raise awareness in the local community and to encourage people to avoid unnecessary appointments in an effort to help manage traffic flow during the day of the eclipse." Pulvino continued. 

Related: Solar eclipse jam: How to avoid getting stuck in traffic on April 8, 2024

You can follow my eclipse experience on Space.com's social media channels, including TikTok as well as on Space.com where I'll be reporting on what it's like to see my first ever solar eclipse — clear skies pending! 

If you're unable to attend the eclipse in person  You can watch the total solar eclipse live here on Space.com. And keep up with all the actions with our total solar eclipse 2024 live updates blog.

This trip is made possible by travel provided by Visit Rochester.

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Daisy Dobrijevic
Reference Editor

Daisy Dobrijevic joined Space.com in February 2022 having previously worked for our sister publication All About Space magazine as a staff writer. Before joining us, Daisy completed an editorial internship with the BBC Sky at Night Magazine and worked at the National Space Centre in Leicester, U.K., where she enjoyed communicating space science to the public. In 2021, Daisy completed a PhD in plant physiology and also holds a Master's in Environmental Science, she is currently based in Nottingham, U.K. Daisy is passionate about all things space, with a penchant for solar activity and space weather. She has a strong interest in astrotourism and loves nothing more than a good northern lights chase!