Are you ready for the April 8, 2024 eclipse?

Are you ready for the April 8, 2024 eclipse?

You most likely already know that there will be a solar eclipse in our area on April 8.  Arkansas has only been in the path of totality for an eclipse two other times in history - in 1834 and in 1918. The next total solar eclipse in the state will be in 2045.  Don’t miss this one! Here are some details that can help make your viewing experience more successful.


YES! The Library will be handing out free eclipse glasses beginning March 1 while supplies last (read on for more details).

YES! You need ISO certified eclipse glasses or shades to safely view the eclipse. 

NO, Fort Smith will not experience a total eclipse.  We are just outside of the path for totality.  Find out where you can go to experience totality below.

YES! The weather will affect your eclipse viewing opportunity.  Hope for clear skies!

YES! Arkansas will have a LOT of visitors to the state who will be driving to and around the state on April 8, including in Fort Smith. Plan ahead for the influx of people -- get gas, groceries, and supplies ahead of the rush, and be prepared for the inconveniences that this “once-in-a-lifetime event” will likely bring.

Eclipse Glasses & Safety 

poster for library eclipse events


You will need ISO certified eclipse glasses or shades to safely view the eclipse.  Beginning March 1, The Fort Smith Public Library will be handing out eclipse glasses to the community while supplies last.  Eclipse glasses will be available at all FSPL locations all open hours, while supplies last.  You will need to come inside the building to pick up your glasses.  There is a limit of 4 per household.  We will also be hosting some eclipse information tables and glasses giveaways in early March.  Check our event listing for more information.


You can access a one-page eclipse safety flier, here.

Where to View

map showing Arkansas eclipse path

On the day of the eclipse, the moon will line up perfectly between the Earth and the sun, blotting out sunlight.  The path of totality runs through the state of Arkansas, but does NOT go through Fort Smith (except for extreme south Fort Smith).  Viewing the eclipse from Fort Smith will give you a partial eclipse experience.  To experience totality, you will need to drive a little bit to the south or the east. Places nearby to experience the total eclipse include Barling, Greenwood, Hackett, Lavaca, and Charleston.  The farther you get toward the centerline of the path of totality, the longer you will experience darkness.  Barling will experience approximately 1 minute of totality, and Greenwood will have approximately 2 minutes and 15 seconds.  Cities closer to the centerline include Hot Springs (3 m 36 s), Russellville (4 m 11 s), Conway (3 m 52 s), Mena (4 m 7 s), and De Queen (4 m 17 s).  To investigate the path of the eclipse and view timing and duration, visit the interactive google map. You will need to use the buttons on the left-hand side to zoom into our area.

What to Expect for the Total Solar Eclipse

Do you know what to look for during the eclipse, and if it is ever safe to take off your glasses?  Here is a great video on YouTube created by Bray Falls, which will give you a good idea.  The video is about 19 minutes long and offers a good idea of what you might see during the eclipse.

Eclipse Traffic

An estimated 2 million people will drive in and around Arkansas on April 8, 2024, to see the total solar eclipse. Such movement will result in an estimated 700,000 extra vehicle trips, according to a traffic management plan from the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT). Visit this 'Talk Business & Politics' story  for more information on traffic including a map you can view to see which roads ARDOT expects to be most impacted. 

Eclipse Weather

Check local TV weather reports as eclipse day approaches. The meteorologists will give you expert advice on viewing the eclipse and whether you may need to relocate due to weather. For a more comprehensive look at the weather and how it may affect eclipse viewing, check out eclipsophile

Library Closure

All Fort Smith Public Library locations will be closed on Monday, April 8, so that employees may experience this once-in- a-lifetime event with their families and friends and to minimize the impact of traffic congestion and other disruptions on them.  We hope you have a safe and magnificent eclipse viewing experience too!