Weird But True

Huge explosions from the sun may add a ‘great show’ to solar eclipse

The highly anticipated solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, might offer some extra fireworks.

It’s all thanks to a series of massive explosions that one solar physicist says could be visible during the lengthy daytime phenomena — it will be fully over western New York just after 2 p.m. — that will move across the nation.

The total eclipse of the moon covering the sun could coincide with coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which happen when massive particles from the sun are hurled out into space, speculates Ryan French of the National Solar Observatory in Boulder, Colorado.

The eruptions take one to three days to reach Earth, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The solar eclipse may also feature intense activity on the sun. Imagen Chile/AFP via Getty Image

“If we get lucky, a CME will present itself as a twisted, spiral-like structure, high in the atmosphere in the sun,” French told

The sun may show even more extreme activity during the solar eclipse — namely, coronal mass ejections (CMEs). AFP/Getty Images

“What this does mean, however, is that the same eruption could be seen in Rochester as it was in Dallas, at different stages of the same long-duration eruption.”

However, French added that to be seen from our planet and not be blocked by the moon’s totality, they would need to occur just over the sun’s edge.

Solar flares, which are similar to CME’s but reach Earth in minutes not days, could also occur.

Another potential garnish to the eclipse would be a solar prominence — massive and dazzling outward rings that the sun expels.

“Sometimes prominences erupt, untethering from the sun’s surface and expanding into the solar system,” French said.

“There have been a few examples of such prominence eruptions over the past few months, each of which would have given a great show if occurring during a total solar eclipse.”

However, the scientist added that even if no major prominence is to come during the eclipse, it “will still provide a view of stationary, non-eruptive prominences.”

Everything to know about the 2024 solar eclipse

  • The solar eclipse will take place Monday, April 8, blocking the sun for over 180 million people in its path.
  • The eclipse will expand from Mexico’s Pacific Coast across North America, hitting 15 US states and pulling itself all the way to the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
  • New Yorkers will experience the solar eclipse just after 2 p.m. Monday.
  • A huge explosion on the sun, known as a coronal mass ejection, is anticipated, according to experts. This happens when massive particles from the sun are hurled out into space, explains Ryan French of the National Solar Observatory in Boulder, Colorado.
  • To avoid serious injury to the eyes, it is necessary to view the event through proper eyewear like eclipse glasses, or a handheld solar viewer, during the partial eclipse phase before and after totality.
  • The next total solar eclipse will take place on Aug. 12, 2026, and totality will be visible to those in Greenland, Iceland, Spain, Russia and a small slice of Portugal. 

They’re just smaller and stay closer to the sun’s surface.

Another Colorado-based scientist, Amir Caspi of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, also warned that because eclipses will only last a few minutes over fixed points, the natural marvels can be tough to spot.

Solar flares or coronal mass ejections might also happen on the sun during the eclipse. AFP/Getty Images

But he did note a glimmer of light and hope.

“The sun is incredibly dynamic; some processes take minutes or even seconds, such as a solar flare or a CME,” Caspi told the outlet.