Solar Eclipse at Sea: Preparing for a Stellar Journey

View of solar eclipse with orange hues stretched across the blue sky.

If you’re a stargazer at heart, you’ll likely be glued to your screen during the solar eclipse on April 8. If you’re lucky enough to be located along its path, you may even have an eclipse viewer with protective filters standing by. And if you’re a guest aboard Holland America Line’s Koningsdam and Zaandam, you’re getting ready for the breathtaking and unique experience of a solar eclipse at sea. If not, you could join us on Facebook as we livestream the eclipse from one of our cruise ships, beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Until then, explore some fun facts and what makes an eclipse at sea a stellar journey.

A Unique View at Sea

Though weather can affect anyone’s view – from land or sea – cruisers have a few advantages. We recently caught up with University of California San Diego (UCSD) Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics Adam Burgasser, who will be aboard the Koningsdam for the solar eclipse cruise as a guest speaker, to learn more about what makes a solar eclipse journey unique.

First and foremost, our captains can closely monitor weather forecasts and slightly adjust routes in advance if it helps improve the view. When you’re on land, you could miss the eclipse by the time you try to beat the cloud cover. Secondly, you won’t experience the same kind of light pollution at sea as you would on land. The only light pollution cruisers will experience is from the sun itself. You’re also more likely to experience the eclipse from one end of the horizon to the other. This provides a unique opportunity to track what the sun is doing. According to Professor Burgasser, the entire environment will change as the sun’s shadow moves across the horizon. One of the best parts though is the possibility of seeing planets we don’t usually see, such as Venus and Mercury.

A Few Fun Facts

  • The solar eclipse will last about 4.5 minutes.
  • They happen a couple times a year – sometimes 3-4 times when we’re lucky enough for the sun, moon and earth to nearly align.
  • When solar eclipses occur, it’s always during a full moon.

How to Make Your Own Eclipse Viewer

A few months ago, we joined Professor Burgasser for a tutorial on how to make eclipse viewers. Gather friends and family around the table to make your own solar eclipse viewers at home.

Will you be tuning in for the solar eclipse on April 8? Share in the comments below.


Join the Discussion


  1. Sam April 12, 2024 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    Solar eclipses only happen during a new moon, not a full moon.

    • Julie April 15, 2024 at 2:58 pm - Reply

      Hi Sam, thanks for pointing that out! Appreciate it.

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