Coming Monday: Total eclipse of the sun

Republished from Kentucky Lantern

LOUISVILLE — As millions gear up for the total solar eclipse on Monday, Kentuckians are being cautioned to protect their eyes from sun damage and prepare for traffic delays. 

The SDO spacecraft captures an image of a partial eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. ( photo)

The 2024 total solar eclipse — the last one for at least two decades — will happen Monday, April 8. 

The time of the eclipse varies by location. The totality phase will enter Kentucky around 2 p.m., CDT, in parts of Fulton and Hickman counties before reaching Ballard, McCracken, Livingston, Crittenden, Union and Henderson counties along the Ohio River. It will also clip Carlisle, Graves, Webster and Daviess counties.

 The full darkening will be visible in Louisville at 3:07 p.m., EST.

To search for eclipse times by ZIP code and find other information, visit

A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, blocking the sun and causing momentary darkness, according to The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). There was a total solar eclipse in 2017, as well, but NASA says the Monday eclipse is “even more exciting” because it has a wider path. 

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet estimates the eclipse will attract 150,000 visitors to Western Kentucky, where a dozen counties are in or near the path of totality.  This will lead to “major” traffic delays. For more information on traffic delays, visit

“You want to make sure that you see this once in a lifetime event — for some, twice in a lifetime event — but that you do it safely,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday. 

“We want people to take in this incredible event, but we also want them to be prepared for potential heavy traffic as everyone heads to and from the main eclipse corridor,” Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said. “We have some simple suggestions for visitors: Arrive early and pack the essentials such as water, eclipse glasses and plenty of patience for navigating crowded highways.”

Protect your eyes 

Dr. Patrick Scott, an optometrist with UofL Health, said looking at the eclipse — even for a few seconds — can cause damage to the eyes. 

“We don’t typically look at the sun on a day to day basis because … it can be damaging, it’s too much light,” he said. 

During an eclipse, people are “tempted to look up,” he said, but should resist the urge because it can “cause permanent damage to the receptive cells of the retina.” 

Children are most at risk of damage, he said, as well as people who take medication like tetracycline or amiodarone, which can make them more vulnerable to sun damage. 

Sunglasses are a definite no-go for eclipse viewing, Scott said. They do not filter out the sun’s rays enough to avoid damage. 

“Eclipse glasses should be the only type of viewing glasses that you would use to look at the eclipse,” he said. When buying eclipse glasses, he added, be sure to check for the label that says “ISO 12312-2.” 

People who are looking to reuse eclipse glasses from the 2017 eclipse should make sure the lenses are scratch-free, said Scott. 

“If there are scratches or any type of blemish that can allow the sun’s rays to get through,” he said, “I would not use them.”  

Kentucky Lantern is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kentucky Lantern maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jamie Lucke for questions: Follow Kentucky Lantern on Facebook and Twitter. Kentucky Lantern stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Donate to Kentucky Lantern here.