For the most part, though they're interesting to see, eclipses generally aren't nearly as important as the one set to occur on April 8.

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But exactly why is that? Why are some Texans afraid of the potential for the massive crowds expected to converge on the Lone Star state? Why are so many schools in Texas planning to close for the day?

Just Why Is This Eclipse Apparently More Important Than Previous Ones?

Legitimate questions for sure, and an article on space.com does a fairly good job of explaining the uniqueness of this year's solar eclipse.  In their article, we learn that North America hasn't witnessed a total solar eclipse since August 21, 2017 when an eclipse crossed the U.S. from Oregon through South Carolina.

https://cdn.jwplayer.com/previews/4adldNo7

And the eclipse scheduled to take place on April 8, 2024 will be a much longer event and visible from a narrow path of totality through Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.

From science.nasa.gov
From science.nasa.gov
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But we've had eclipses before, so the question remains. What makes this one so special? Why are hundreds of thousands of Americans flocking to areas along the path in order to get this best vantage point for the spectacle?

Space.com Explains A Number Of Reasons Why This Eclipse Is So Unique

The article from space.com explains that this year's solar eclipse is unique for a number of reasons

  • Totality can last twice as long as in 2017
  • It's also set to be the longest totality on land for over a decade
  • The sun's corona during totality is expected to be huge. That's because the sun is close to solar maximum — when it's most active during its 11 years (or so) solar cycle.
  • During totality, two planets will be visible. Venus will be very bright and, though much dimmer, viewers will be able to see Jupiter as well

So that pretty much sums it up.  It's the actual length of time we'll witness the event that's making it such a big deal.

Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
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Nasa put together a table that provides the time that totality begins in some U.S. cities in the path of totality. These areas will also experience a partial eclipse before and after these times.

On that table we see that Dallas will begin to observe a partial eclipse at 12:23 pm.  Totality will begin at 1:40 pm.  The maximum eclipse will occur at 1:42 pm.  Totality will end at 1:44 pm and the partial eclipse will end at 3:02 pm.

Location
Partial Begins
Totality Begins
Maximum
Totality Ends
Partial Ends
Dallas, Texas
12:23 p.m. CDT
1:40 p.m. CDT
1:42 p.m. CDT
1:44 p.m. CDT
3:02 p.m. CDT
Idabel, Oklahoma
12:28 p.m. CDT
1:45 p.m. CDT
1:47 p.m. CDT
1:49 p.m. CDT
3:06 p.m. CDT
Little Rock, Arkansas
12:33 p.m. CDT
1:51 p.m. CDT
1:52 p.m. CDT
1:54 p.m. CDT
3:11 p.m. CDT

So, if you've found yourself caught up in the "Eclipse Fever", now you know why.

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