Desoto County News

2024 Solar Eclipse promises to put us in the dark

By Bailee Harris

Next Monday, April 8, a solar eclipse will cross North America. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth. 

DeSoto County will be in the 97 percent totality range, while parts of Arkansas, Missouri, and Kentucky will be in the path of totality. This phenomenon will not occur near this area again until 2045, making this year a part of history. 

Mark Montgomery, a Physics and Astronomy professor at Northwest Mississippi Community college, details how DeSoto County locals can view the eclipse. 

“If you have solar eclipse glasses, that’s the only way you can look directly at the sun. But, if you are trying to indirectly view it, you can get the sun behind you. Anything that has a hole in it, whether you take a hole punch and punch some holes in a piece of paper and let the sun shine through the paper; it will project an image of the sun on the ground,” Montgomery says. 

While DeSoto County is only at 97 percent totality this year, our neighbors in Tate County will witness history in 2045. 

Montgomery states, “In 2045, Senatobia will be in totality, and DeSoto County will be just out. We will have to drive just a little bit south…It will go right through the heart of Mississippi.” 

The next time DeSoto County will be near totality will be in 21 years, so Montgomery shares, “If you can get to a spot where you’re in totality, it’s going to be amazing. I was at the one in 2017 and went to Nashville to watch that one. When you’re in totality, you can look all around you and it’s like there’s a sunset in every direction. The animals get really confused so the birds will get quiet, and the crickets will start chirping. If your eyes can adjust fast enough, you can even see stars in the middle of the day.” 

For those who cannot travel to witness this year’s solar eclipse, there are still ways to be a part of it locally. The City of Olive Branch will host The Great American Solar Eclipse Viewing Party at City Park from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. There will be eclipse glasses available while supplies last, food trucks, and live music.