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Here's where — and how — you can watch the total solar eclipse on April 8 in Rochester

People in silhouette watch the total solar eclipse
Adobe Stock
A total solar eclipse will happen on April 8, 2024.

If you want to know where the eclipse is going to be in the sky on April 8, Deb Ross has a tip for you.

She says to put on a baseball cap and face south, then imagine a line from the end of your nose to the right corner of the cap. That line will point to the sun’s approximate location during the total solar eclipse: about 45 degrees above the horizon, south-southwest.

Ross has been working on eclipse outreach for the better part of seven years with Rochester’s Total Eclipse Task Force. She says the best place to view the eclipse is anywhere with an unobstructed view of the sky between 2:07 and 4:33 pm.

But if you don’t have time to go outside and scout locations with your Red Wings cap, here are five places in Rochester where the view of the eclipse is bound to be spectacular.

People bike along an off-road trail above the Genesee River
Max Schulte
People bike along the Genesee Riverway Trail on a fall day.

    Up along the reservoir — standing with the city skyline behind you — is expected to be one of the most popular spots to take in the eclipse, as well as witness the impact it may have on wildlife like birds and bugs.
    Another park, another reservoir to watch the sky over. Stand on the north-eastern point of the reservoir to catch the best view. Or get there early to scope out your own space among the 150 acres of hills and valleys, flora and fauna.
    The Pont De Rennes is still under construction, but this little park off St. Paul Street to the east of the river gorge is a great spot to see the falls and the city as they are cast in the eclipse’s shadow.
    Take advantage of the elevation this bridge has to offer, situated between Maplewood and Seneca parks. Alternatively, check out the Erie Lackawanna Pedestrian Bridge near the University of Rochester or the Court Street Bridge looking out toward the Frederick Douglass–Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge.
    Turn your back to Lake Ontario for the best view of the eclipse. Better yet, head out to the end of Charlotte Pier and turn around to look out over the shoreline and beyond.
Two people sitting on a bench in a park, facing away from the viewer
Max Schulte
People enjoy a spring day at Highland Park.

If you are not planning on staying inside the city limits, there are many places around the county — and beyond — for optimal viewing.

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Monroe County put together this list of parks worth spending the day at as part of their Park it in the Parks campaign.

Hamlin Beach State Park to the west and Sodus Point to the east both promise to be gathering points for eclipse enthusiasts, as well as the north shore of Canandaigua Lake (and other Finger Lakes — though totality will not last as long in places like Skaneateles and Geneva).

People all over Rochester are getting ready for the total eclipse. But for some, April 8 is a day that has been years in the making.

How to safely watch the solar eclipse

Never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection. During a solar eclipse, sunglasses are not enough. You will need proper eyewear that is ISO 12312-2 compliant.

If you don’t have eclipse glasses, there are other ways to safely watch it, including DIY projectors using common household objects. NPR explains 5 ways to safely watch the eclipse in a video released during the last total eclipse.

Rochester and Monroe County events

If you’re looking forward to the communal aspect of this special occasion, there are many ticketed events happening around Rochester to take part in.

  • Roc the Eclipse at Rochester Museum and Science Center
    The three day festival culminates the day of the eclipse, April 8. Use telescopes with solar filters, giant eclipse glasses that fully work, and other viewing methods spread throughout the museum’s grounds. The event will also include speakers and performers such as the Isotopes, Roc City Ballet, and Dylan Marlowe. Then experience “Countdown to Totality,” where eclipse experts will explain everything going on in real time.
  • Solar Spectacle at Genesee Country Village and Museum
    Boasting acres of wide-open space and un-obstructed eclipse views without the massive crowds or light pollution of the city, the museum is hosting a four-day celestial festival for ticket-holders. Experience the eclipse in a 19th century village, as well as hands-on, historical programming in the gallery and nature center.
  • SOLARPALOOZA at Innovative Field
    Live music, arts and crafts, photo backdrops, face painting, autograph sessions with Rochester Red Wings players, special character appearances, and raffle prizes at this eclipse festival. Plus a live NASA video feed on the largest video board in town in case it’s cloudy.
  • Focus, Click, Totality! at the George Eastman Museum
    View a display of pinhole cameras (including a giant projector you can enter) and track the eclipse’s progress through a live NASA feed in the Dryden Theatre, then watch the event in person from the museum’s Library Garden and East Lawn.
  • Total Eclipse of the Park at Genesee Valley Park
    This inclusive event will give a unique experience for those with visual impairments. Hear the eclipse with the help of a LightSound device, plus enjoy audio darts, beep baseball, and tactile map building.

Wherever you are on April 8, eclipse experts advise you to plan ahead in case of limited parking, bring what you need for the day, wear proper eyewear that is ISO 12312-2 compliant when staring at the sun, and stay off the roads immediately after totality.
The moon will begin moving in front of the sun at 2:07 p.m. Totality begins at 3:20 p.m. and will last 3 minutes and 38 seconds.

Rochester will not see another total solar eclipse until 2144.

People in historical clothing walk out of a log cabin
Max Schulte
Historical reenactors at Genesee Country Village and Museum.

Veronica Volk is a senior editor and producer for WXXI News.
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