For the best place to view the total solar eclipse...

For the best place to view the total solar eclipse on April 8, experts recommend several locations upstate. Credit: AP/Ted S. Warren

Homer — the Greek poet, not Simpson — once noted of a solar eclipse: “The sun has perished out of Heaven, and an evil mist hovers over all.”

But, since humankind has learned a lot about astronomy since the sun's disappearing act Homer witnessed on April 16, 1178 B.C., NASA said of the eclipse that will briefly blanket portions on New York in near-total darkness on April 8: “If you haven’t seen a total solar eclipse, you haven’t seen anything.”

For Long Islanders, however, the whole show might be disappointing.

“Truth is,” Stony Brook University astronomy professor Frederick Walter said, “it'll be more like observing the sun through fog — or thin clouds.”

That's because while the total eclipse centerline runs through Lake Ontario. On Long Island — and the metropolitan area, the eclipse will be only about 90%.

“And 10% of the sun is still pretty bright,” Walter said.

About 16,000 times brighter than a full moon, in fact, he added.

The area of total eclipse will involve a 100-mile-wide path stretching from Mazatlan, Mexico to Newfoundland, with areas of total eclipse in New York located in the Western and northern parts of the state, notably Buffalo, Rochester and Watertown.

For Long Island, the initial stages of the near-total eclipse will begin shortly after 2 p.m., depending on the location, and end at 4:37 p.m. — with the maximum eclipse between about 3:15 and 3:30 p.m.

“You may not even notice it,” Walter said.

On Wednesday, New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced a series of upstate viewing locations for those hoping to catch the rare celestial phenomenon.

The locations include Allegany State Park in Salamanca, Buffalo Harbor State Park, Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora, Lake Erie State Park in Brocton, Long Point State Park on Lake Chautauqua in Bemus Point, Cumberland Bay State Park in Plattsburgh and Wellesley Island State Park in Fineview.

NASA warned: “Remember, it is never safe to look directly at a partially or uneclipsed Sun without proper eye protection.”

Approved solar glasses are thousands of times darker than regular sunglasses and must have an ISO of 12312-2, which NASA said is the international standard.

“Beware of unverified sellers on the internet who try to capitalize on the eclipse and might claim their glasses are safe even though they are not,” NASA said.

An indirect method of viewing — using something like a pinhole projector — is the safest method, Walter said.

For more information on the eclipse path, times, locations and viewing do's and don'ts, visit the NASA site at

Meanwhile, Walter said there is good news for Long Islanders.

Well, for those still around by then.

“The next one,” he said of a future total eclipse for the area, “will be in 2079.”

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