Hotels in Bloomington are already sold out for a total solar eclipse more than a year away. The city is an optimal viewing location for the phenomenon on April 8, 2024, which is expected to draw many visitors to Bloomington.
Hotels including the Biddle Hotel at IU, Cascades Inn, Graduate Bloomington and Travel Lodge by Windham have no available rooms April 5-9.
BPD Capt. Ryan Pedigo said the department began discussing how to handle the large amount of people coming to Bloomington for this event and the precautions they will take for the eclipse but did not list any specifics.
According to the ECLIPSE IU website, the path of the eclipse will begin in Mexico and travel through the U.S. directly over central Indiana. Bloomington and IU will be in the center of the eclipse’s predicted path, so residents will be able to see the total solar eclipse. The solar eclipse is expected to last four minutes and two seconds and is estimated to begin at 3:04 p.m.
A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves directly in front of the sun, blocking out sunlight for a brief period. The phenomenon occurs around once every 18 months but is not always visible at the same location.
IU and Bloomington will be partaking in festivities such as live performances, art, poetry, special guests and trivia competitions, according to IU’s ECLIPSE IU website. More details for these festivities will be released in the coming months.
Catherine Pilachowski, astronomy professor at IU, said communities along the path of the 2017 partial solar eclipse in Indiana had triple the population during the event due to large amounts of tourists. Pilachowski said this put strain on public resources such as public safety, communications, food services and emergency management.
“The eclipse in August of 2017 was only partial here in Bloomington,” Pilachowski said. “This is a total eclipse; it will be like multiple football games at once.”
Pilachowski is part of a group of Bloomington and IU representatives that was put together to prepare Bloomington for the eclipse. She said the group works with several departments on campus, including astronomy and optometry departments, in addition to community representatives from the city who deal with community needs. The group is working to plan special events and to make sure the appropriate public resources are available in Bloomington on the day of the eclipse.
Pilachowski said there will only be around four minutes of total darkness from the eclipse, but the moon will begin to cross in front of the sun an hour before the eclipse. She said there will be about an hour after totality before the moon moves completely out of the way of the sun.
A countdown to the eclipse can be found here.