Skydivers to take plunge during total solar eclipse for unprecedented view

A New York skydiving center is allowing people to view the eclipse while skydiving. (Credit: Skydive the Falls)

A group of skydivers plans to get the most envious and unique view of the total lunar eclipse set to take place on April 8. 

Jason Berger, co-owner of Skydive the Falls in western New York, helped organize the event after one of his friends suggested it a few years ago. 

"The appeal is just exactly what you think it is," the 35-year-old told FOX Television Stations. "We always take it to the next level in this kind of world." 

"Nature's giving us the special event, which is the eclipse," he continued. "How do we go ahead and make it extreme and make it one step better than the rest? Make it a little bit cooler."

Berger said three aircraft and nearly 30 jumpers are taking part in the celestial event, with some coming as far as California to skydive. 

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The skydivers will jump out of the plane one minute before the eclipse. They will freefall while wearing their eclipse glasses, allowing them to look up. After that, they will deploy their parachute and land on the ground. 

Of course, the timing has to be perfect and even Berger said that’s an understatement. 

"Some of us will be landing at the end of totality, some during totality," Berger continued. "Everybody has a different-sized parachute, so it will work out in every favor, so we are not all congested."

"Like every jump, it’s special," he added. "Memories happen and it makes stories happen. This is just another one to put in our logbook and relive it over and over with our GoPro footage, our memories, and spending that time with our friends, fellow jumpers and families."

Total solar eclipse path

The April 2024 solar eclipse will be visible, at least in part, to nearly everyone in the U.S. But the path of totality – where the moon will completely block the sun – is a 115-mile-wide region that stretches from southern Texas up through Ohio, then over to northern Maine.

Large cities in the path of totality include:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Carbondale, Illinois
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Plattsburgh, New York
  • Presque Isle, Maine

The farther you are from that path, less and less of the sun will appear to be blocked.

What time is the solar eclipse?

Southern Texas will see the peak of totality first, around 1:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Then Dallas at 1:42 p.m., with the time getting later and later as the moon’s shadow moves north. Indianapolis will see the peak around 3:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time; Cleveland at 3:15 p.m., and northern Maine around 3:30 p.m.

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Projected path and time of totality for the 2024 total solar eclipse over the U.S.

However, it will take several hours for the moon to move across the sun, so the actual eclipse event will start just over an hour before the peak of totality, with more and more of the sun slowly being blocked.

How long is the solar eclipse?

Again, that depends on where you are. Those closest to the center of the path will see total darkness for about four minutes at the peak of totality.

But because the moon moves slowly across the sun’s path, the entire eclipse event – from when the moon first clips the sun until the time it clears – will last from 90 minutes to over two hours for those in the path of totality. 

Where do I look for the solar eclipse?

The easiest way to know may be to step outside in the days leading up to the eclipse and see where the sun is during the afternoon.

MORE: How to get the best view of the solar eclipse

Early afternoon on April 8, the sun will be pretty high in the sky. As always, though, the further north you are, the lower in the sky the sun will appear.

For example, in Austin, the sun will be at 67 degrees up from the horizon at the peak of totality. Remember, 90 degrees is straight up, so 67 degrees is just over two-thirds up into the sky from the horizon.

In Cleveland, meanwhile, the sun will be slightly lower, at only 49 degrees – just over halfway up in the sky.

When is the next total solar eclipse?

After 2024, NASA says, the next total solar eclipse visible from any point in the contiguous United States will occur in 2044. Totality will only be visible from North Dakota and Montana.

The next total solar eclipse that will travel across the lower 48 states from coast to coast is in 2045. ​

Chris Boex contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.