Looking To The Heavens: My 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Experience Trip Notes

Totality in Cleveland on 4/8/24, by Moishie Hersko
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As soon as the 2017 total solar eclipse finished, I knew I was in trouble. How could I not make an effort to travel and see it again and again?

The celestial spectacle took my breath away. While pictures often make the northern lights look more spectacular than they are, pictures do no justice for a total eclipse, which looks far more amazing than any picture or video can capture. You simply need to see it with your own 2 eyes.

It’s eerie. It’s magical. It’s shocking. It’s beautiful. The sky looks like it’s breaking or has developed a black hole. It’s epic. It’s electrifying!

Frankly though, all the adjectives in the world won’t do it any justice. The gasps of the people around you are the only good way to comprehend it.

The odds that a planet’s moon should perfectly eclipse its sun are close to nil. It doesn’t exist anywhere else in our solar system. The Sun just happens to be 400 times larger than the Moon and 400 times as far as the moon to create the perfect symmetry.

To me, it’s yet another proof of G-d’s handiwork, there is no way something so perfect would exist unless it was intentional.

Lucky for me, the 2024 eclipse was scheduled to cross over my backyard. But would the weather hold out?

I didn’t want to take any chances, so a year ago, I booked an Avios award ticket to Dallas as a contingency plan.

Over the past few months, I decided to make a push for readers of this site to go see the eclipse. Some people have seen partial eclipses and assumed that a total eclipse would be similar. Others thought it would be the same as the daily sunset. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Clearly, non-DansDeals readers:


I went out to Mendel’s KC BBQ on Sunday with my brother and was thrilled to hear from so many people from out of town who came to Cleveland to see the eclipse because of posts on this website! The restaurant had a record-breaking night thanks to visitors from across the country. And of course, Unger’s Bakery sold out of the donuts that I always rave about.

Weather forecasts, and especially cloud forecasts, are notoriously inaccurate. They’re only worth looking at within a couple of days before an eclipse.

Cleveland’s forecast was mixed, but the forecast in Dallas was much worse, so I canceled my award tickets there. If I was going to roll the dice, it would be at home. Besides, I had brothers and brothers-in-law coming in from around the country to watch the eclipse in Cleveland. It didn’t take that much to convince all of them, I just had to remind them that if they missed it, they could catch the next one in Cleveland in 420 years!

Moishie Hersko, my partner on the kosher cruise to Antarctica and the proprietor of Kosher Horizons, came to Cleveland to photograph the eclipse as well. We photographed the 2017 total eclipse together in Boonville, MO when another Antarctica passenger went to S. Joseph, MO. Our reading of the cloud forecast paid off, as we got a wonderful eclipse viewing in Boonville, while S. Joseph had low hanging clouds that made viewing impossible.



Indeed, one of the keys to reading cloud forecasts is differentiating between low stormy clouds that totally block the sun, and high wispy cirrus clouds that are common on sunny days. Those high clouds tend to disappear as the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

While Moishie headed to the lakeshore for 360 degree views of sunset, we set up our watch party right in my backyard. The party was coming to my house and that’s exactly where I planned on staying if the weather looked good.


The show didn’t let anyone down. It never does.

And it was on April 8th. The same day that Jews bless the Sun every 28 years, with the next one due on April 8th, 2037.

For the partial eclipse, we took a colander and watch as the circles reflect the eclipsed sun:


And when the moon eclipsed the sun, the temperature on the balmy spring day plummeted, the crickets chirped, and everyone gasped in awe at the heavens.

As promised, the high cirrus clouds melted away for a perfect eclipse viewing excperience.

There are places you travel to and wonder what all the hype was about. But I haven’t read a single regret from anyone that traveled for the total eclipse. The experience is that magical.

Well, other than for folks who got clouded in, in some parts of Texas and New York. But for most people, reality was much better than meteorologists predicted.

You can view the satellite video of the eclipse racing across the country below. As you can see, the clouds were really only a factor in Texas and New York.


Other regrets came from people on the so-called Delta eclipse flights that I wrote about negatively. The NY Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Washington Post all covered the negative reviews from that flight. From those reports, it was exactly the epic fail I predicted it would be. As I wrote, eclipses are designed to be experienced from the ground, folks!

On DDF you can read some excellent mini trip reports from shulem92, Aerial Dag, S209, yuneeq, ushdadude, haltkup, aishel, Traveler718, cgr, YesThatsMe, avromie7, and more tips from yuneeq. One key tip was to either spend the night in the eclipse location, or leave right after the end of totality to beat the post-eclipse traffic.

I spent the 2017 eclipse glued to my camera, so this time I didn’t focus on photographing it, though I did take a few pictures from the backyard.


I did take some drone photos of everyone watching the eclipse, but mostly relied on Moishie Hersko to take care of the photos, who never fails to deliver.

That way I was able to enjoy the nearly 4 minutes of totality, which while longer than I experienced in 2017, went by in the blink of an eye.

Though my wife Mimi got a great pic on her Pixel 8 Pro:


And local friend Adam Levine got a great shot on his S23:


Of course, Moishie had the winning shots with his rig:


From his Lake Erie vantage point, he saw the 360 degree sunset:


For the partial eclipse he used a solar filter for his DSLR and shot in aperture priority, f-11, ISO 200, and let the camera determine shutter speed based on how much sun is visible. As the eclipse progressed, he moved to ISO 800 to maintain a fast enough shutter speed.

During totality, he removed the filter and shot in aperture priority, f-9, ISO 800, 1/160sec, -2.0 EV.

Cookie or Pac-Man?


Almost there…


Bailey’s Beads is a phenomenon that takes place a moment before totality when you can see the sun’s light peak through the valleys on the moon:


And then, 4 glorious minutes of totality:


And another treat. Massive solar prominences are seen shooting off the sun. Each prominence is multiple times the size of Earth:


Just before and after totality is the diamond ring:


Photographer Kendall Rust caught AA flight 2246 cross over the moon in Jonesboro, AR during the eclipse for this stunning shot:


Another good suggestion from Moishie is you use binoculars with a solar filter instead of eclipse glasses. Have too many eclipse glasses? You can donate them at any Warby Parker store through 4/30.


Our Kosher Antarctica chef, Shua Lurie, now works at Mendel’s BBQ and was working at the fantastic Mendel’s kosher stand at the ballpark for opening day during the eclipse. Here’s his video from there:


I went with my brother Dovid and some of our kids to the game afterwards, where even the mascot was eclipse ready.


Plus, a new menu at the ballpark’s kosher stand, with chili dogs, pulled beef sausages, and delicious knishes in addition to pastrami dogs.


Enjoying a fantastic chili dog and an incredible Po Girl sausage, loaded with cole slaw, pulled beef, potato sticks, and Mendel’s award winning BBQ sauce.


The entire stadium was buzzing about the eclipse experience, with everyone sharing how it exceeded their expectations.

And we got a nice little flyover in middle of the National Anthem.


It was quite the day in The Land!

Pictures and video do this event no justice. But these rare events remind us of just how perfect and wondrous G-d’s world is.

Want to catch the next one?

On August 12, 2026, a total solar eclipse will touch Greenland and Iceland with 130 seconds of totality, Portugal with 110 seconds, Spain with 105 seconds, and Palma de Mallorca with 96 seconds.

The one after that will be on August 2, 2027, and it will be a glorious one. Gibraltar will experience 4.5 minutes of totality, Tangier nearly 5 minutes, and the pyramids of Luxor will bask in nearly 6.5 minutes of totality.

And after that on July 22, 2028, Sydney, Australia will get nearly 4 minutes of totality, while Queenstown, New Zealand will get nearly 3 minutes.

Want to see it in the US? On 3/30/33, remote parts of Western Alaska, such as Nome, will have 2.5 minutes of totality.

But if you want to see it on the mainland US, you’ll have to wait for 8/23/44 for a mere 100 seconds of totality in Montana.

But that will just be a tease for the real next mainland US event, on 8/12/45. Oregon, Nevada, and Utah will get nearly 5 minutes of totality, Colorado Springs will get just over 5 minutes, Tulsa will get over 5.5 minutes, Tallahassee will get nearly 6 minutes, while West Palm Beach will get just over 6 minutes and Boca Raton will get over 5 minutes. Nassau will get over 6 minutes as it continues into South America.

But if you don’t want to leave NYC, you can always wait until 5/1/79 when NYC will be treated to just over 2 minutes of totality.

Will you try to view a total solar eclipse in the near or distant future? Did you see the eclipse? Share your experience in the comments or on DDF!

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36 Comments On "Looking To The Heavens: My 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Experience Trip Notes"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


Thank you for pushing the eclipse on your site. Had an incredible experience with my daughter and even got to bump into you at Mendels!


I think 8/12/45 is a Shabbos


Yes it is!


I almost cancelled our trip to Dallas but I was so glad I didn’t. We live in California which is nowhere near the path of totality. The weather forecast was bad but fortunately the prediction was wrong and we had clear skies. It was a magical experience and something we will always remember. Thanks for recommending it and for your earlier posts that allowed me to make travel arrangements way ahead of time. We wouldn’t have gone otherwise because close-in booking prices were astronomical!


Dan, I’m from Brooklyn and I wanted to “be and see” the “TOTALITY”. So I booked a few month ago SouthWest from LGA to DAL with miles for quite cheap. I decided to take the risk and fly DAL 6:00 AM on 4/08/2024 instead of driving to VT or Maine thru traffic for clear conditions. Car rentals were sold out for months so I used public transportation which worked out great b”H! As the eclipse started it cleared up beautifully! I was in the Dallas Zoo during the eclipse near the Giraffes, ostriches, zebras and elephants which reacted to the darkness running around wild! It was a 3H 52S of my life! STUNNING!


Hey Dan nice report
When is the Israel Trip report coming?


We went to Canada and watched from atop the ski lift in a village called Mont-Orford. I did not take photographs. Relatives of mine traveled to Texas and sadly, saw very little.

Eric from Dallas

“The odds that a planet’s moon should perfectly eclipse its sun are close to nil. It doesn’t exist anywhere else in the universe.”

How do you know it doesn’t exist elsewhere? The universe is unimaginably large and completely unexplored by humanity. It contains as many as one septillion (!) stars, with uncountable planets and moons.

Humanity has identified just 2 exomoons and 5,000 exoplanets to date, so we’re a long, long, long way from a full catalog of the universe’s wonders.

Perhaps you meant it doesn’t exist anywhere else in our solar system?


WOW! What a great writeup, for those that do not understand how something like this can be so amazing only if experienced. I have never been in a total eclipse, hope to one day in my lifetime. Those photos you shared are incredible. THANK YOU


I’m from So Cal. Went with a friend to Dallas for weekend. Decided too cloudy to risk missing. So decided to relocate Sunday.

We were torn between heading to St. Louis (then driving south 2 hours) and Boston to then drive to Maine or Vermont (flights direct were off the charts).

In the end hopped on a flight to St. Louis (pre bought with miles for this contingency), drove to Perryville MO (beautiful country drive). We pulled over to view the eclipse at a Vietnam memorial museum there that we happened on when we saw people setup on a big grass area to view. Really neat place with others to share.

Strange but true side note; Unfortunately, my Father passed away in January. He was with me at the last one in 2017, MO, and he was a proud Vietnam vet, I believe it was no accident that we “randomly” wound up viewing it there this time. Another total eclipse that I will never forget.


PS btw wasn’t a cloud above us. Great viewing. Though I will say 7 years ago I saw more of the solar prominence color show around the edges, curious, did others see more or less of that this time?

Still a phenomenal viewing experience this time as well all round.


Thank you for the nice article and wonderful pictures. We got dinner from Jade on Sunday, just between several large orders that were being picked up and placed.

As a meteorologist, a few comments: 1) all meteorologists would tell you that clouds are notoriously difficult to forecast, especially days in advance; 2) daytime cumulus clouds dissipate with the diminution of the solar heating from the eclipse, though the high cirrus will not be impacted; 3) many people failed to realize that the high cirrus clouds would not impede seeing the eclipse, even though the skies would be reported as cloudy; and 4) the morning forecast for CLE significantly improved with the passage of the front in the early morning.


We went to St Joseph MO in 2017 and it was cloudy. Travelled to Dallas this time and the skies cleared up! Watched the Eclipse with an amazing group from the Dallas Kollel! Davened Yom Kippur Kattan, saw totality, Venus, diamond ring, had an amazing time!


5/1/79 is just a week before my 112th birthday. I can’t wait…the new cameras should be even better!


2079 for me !!


Dan, thanks to your post 2 months ago, I booked a trip on miles from Israel to see the eclipse. I ended up booking and changing/cancelling flights to Toronto; Rochester, NY (plan A); Waco, Tx; Cleveland; and finally Albany, NY (which is the one I actually took). United was really good about all my flight change shenanigans, partly because of a cancellation on my itinerary early in the process. Drove from Albany up to north Vermont by St. Albans City. High cirrus clouds were fine and even added an amazing 22° halo right before and after totality that was an extra treat. Thank you!


My family and I planned a trip months ago to be at Niagara Falls for the eclipse. We drove after Shabbat from NYC and hoped the weather would clear. When Monday morning forecasts were predicting low cloud cover, we made the last minute decision to drive 3.5 hours to Cleveland. We were thrilled that we did! Of course, we took your advice and stopped by Mendy’s KC BBQ before leaving town. I was amazed that along I-90, there was absolutely no traffic in either direction for us driving within the path of totality.
Mah norah maasecha hashem