Viewing Totality, Eclipse Glasses

Where is the best place in or around Rochester that will have the best viewing for the April 8, eclipse? Also, do you have a suggestion for the best eclipse glasses?
Thank you!

Hi Marissa,

Thanks for your questions. To benefit others with the same question(s), I am going to answer this as a Post on our website.
#1) The best place to view Totality will be where there is a clear sky. So pay attention to the weather forecast as April 8 nears, and don’t make your plans set in stone. Be flexible; be ready to drive where it is clear. Seeing Totality is absolutely worth it! Be prepared with food/water and other important supplies in case you get caught in traffic.
#2) Assuming clear skies throughout the area, the “best” place is arguably where you will get the longest duration Totality. The Moon’s shadow is circular, so that means being on the center line of Totality will give you the longest duration in that shadow. The most you can get in New York State is around 3 minutes 45 seconds. Near Rochester, that is north near the lake. Check out this interactive map at
#3) Some ASRAS members who live in the Rochester-area say the “best” place for them is at their house, as (unless they move to a new house) they will not have another opportunity to view Totality from the comforts of home.
#4) The Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC) is having events April 6-8, including during the eclipse, and they also have this webpage devoted purely to eclipse events in the area open to the public. Find some great location options there.
#5) Seek locations with clear horizons and unobstructed views of the sky, particularly to the SouthWest. If clear, all five planets visible to the naked eye (Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars) should be visible during Totality, but Saturn and Mars will be close to the horizon. If you really pay attention, and are elevated with a clear horizon, you might even see the Umbra (the moon’s Totality shadow) rushing at you across the landscape at supersonic speeds.
#6) Try to avoid places with “automatic” lighting, which may turn on during the reduced light of Totality and diminish the experience.

As for eclipse glasses, the most important thing is that they are SAFE. They must meet ISO 12312-2 international standard and be labeled as such. They should also come from a manufacturer on this list . Check out this American Astronomical Society website on eclipse safety for more details. The next question is how much do you want to spend? There are more expensive solar eclipse glasses with frames stronger than paper or cardboard. You could also opt for certain shades of welding goggles. Per AAS, Bob Berman, and other sources, welding Goggles shade 13 or 14 are safe, but these should also be certified. Shade 13 is most highly recommended by Bob Berman. Note: Per Dr. Rick Feinberg of the AAS, Welding goggles with variable transmission (the ones that darken in response to light) are NOT SAFE for solar eclipses. If you come to an ASRAS meeting (or other ASRAS in-person event) you can get eclipse glasses there. They are also being sold at a host of vendors in the Rochester area (there is a link at the RMSC website).

One last parting note: remember that if you are in the shadow of Totality (which besides safety is the most important part of a solar eclipse experience), you can view safely without eclipse glasses during Totality. Mark Littmann & Fred Espenak write, in Totality: The Great North American Eclipse of 2024, “…it is crucial to return to filtered viewing as totality is ending and the western edge of the the Moon’s silhouette brightens with the appearance of… the diamond ring.” Astronomers call this “3rd contact”, when Totality is over, and the returning sun indicates you need to put your eclipse glasses back on to be safe. You need eclipse glasses for the partial phases, which are the approximately 73 minutes before and after Totality, depending where you are.

Tony Golumbeck, ASRAS President

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *