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On April 8, a total solar eclipse is set to occur, passing through 15 U.S. states and lasting for up to 4 minutes and 26 seconds for those in the path of totality. This eclipse will be the first in 218 years to have total darkness lasting more than four and a half minutes visible from the U.S. and Canada. The last eclipse with a totality of this duration was on June 16, 1806.

In 1806, when the last eclipse occurred, the U.S. was a young nation under President Thomas Jefferson. Lewis and Clark had recently completed their expedition, and the population was only five million. The eclipse path of totality began in Baja California and crossed the Western U.S. before reaching states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and eventually touching parts of Canada.

During the 1806 eclipse, the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, could be seen with the naked eye. This phenomenon is what inspired the naming of the corona after the eclipse as it resembled a crown. The eclipse’s “point of greatest duration” occurred in Salem, Massachusetts, lasting for 4 minutes and 48 seconds. This eclipse was also known as “Tecumseh’s Eclipse” due to a story involving Shawnee chief Tecumseh and his brother correctly predicting the eclipse.

Various accounts from eyewitnesses describe the 1806 eclipse as a majestic and awe-inspiring sight, with birds and animals behaving strangely during the totality. Descriptions of the eclipse convey a sense of the darkness and grandeur experienced by those who witnessed it. The upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, will offer a similar opportunity for people to experience this rare astronomical event.

Travel and lodging options for viewing the upcoming total solar eclipse can be found through various sources. Individuals interested in witnessing the event are encouraged to plan ahead and make necessary arrangements to ensure a clear view of the eclipse. As the date approaches, more information and updates about the total solar eclipse will be provided through various platforms.

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