The solar eclipse — what to know for this historic day

Total solar eclipse

With unprecedented numbers of people traveling into and around WNY and most schools closed for the day, extreme congestion is expected.

Man wearing eclipse safety glasses looking at the sun
Don't forget your solar eclipse safety glasses!

Western New York will experience a once-a-generation total solar eclipse, in which the moon passes directly between the Earth and Sun, on Monday, April 8 at about 3:15 pm. 

Called the “Great North American Eclipse,” this rare celestial event will occur in the United States starting in Texas and traverse the sky to Maine. Western New York is in the “path of totality” where we will see it as a total eclipse rather than the partial eclipse we had in 2017. As the moon lines up and obstructs the sun completely, nighttime darkness will fall in the middle of the afternoon. 

The narrow viewing path of the eclipse and its short duration — less than 5 minutes of total sun-blocking — makes it a rare natural event, and a reason why our region is preparing for up to a million tourists. The next partial eclipse for WNY won’t occur until the year 2045, and the next total eclipse is 120 years away. Learn more about eclipse excitement from the Buffalo Museum of Science

How to view the eclipse safely 

Never look directly at the sun! This can cause permanent eye damage or even blindness. You’ll need special eclipse safety glasses or viewers. (Sunglasses are not safe.) Any binoculars, telescopes or cameras will need a special solar filter. Polarized sunglasses, smoked glass, exposed film, medical x-rays and homemade filters are not safe either. Several area retailers are selling the special eclipse glasses and although they look like the paper glasses used to view 3D movies, only the ones marked with ISO 12312-2 are safe for viewing the eclipse. Glasses also are available from the Buffalo Museum of Science and Buffalo & Erie County Public Library locations. Read more about eclipse safety from The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 

Especially for Roswell Park patients 

Since you’ll be able to view the eclipse from anywhere in WNY with a clear view of the sky, we encourage you to stay at or close to home to avoid traffic congestion. While Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s main hospital will not close, we are making preparations to reduce the number of patients traveling that day and ensure adequate staffing.

  • If you are scheduled for an appointment at a Roswell Park ambulatory clinic or one of our Care Network locations for April 8, you may be contacted about converting your visit to a virtual appointment. 
  • All appointments, surgeries and procedures with Perioperative Services, Radiation Medicine and Chemotherapy & Infusion clinics will proceed as usual. 
  • Allow extra time to get here! Expect high traffic congestion and delays and plan accordingly. 
  • If you’re at Roswell Park’s main campus for an outpatient appointment, Kaminski Park or nearby sidewalks with a view of the southwestern sky will offer the best locations for viewing the eclipse. 
  • Inpatients who wish to view the eclipse must discuss this intention with their care team who can make a personalized recommendation.

Plan for traffic

Stay home if you can, but if you must travel on April 8, these web sites and apps may help you navigate the expected increased traffic: