Experiencing the April 8 total solar eclipse's path of totality will offer a brief yet awe-inspiring moment of darkness known as totality, lasting from a few seconds to several minutes. It's crucial to emphasize that this is the only safe time to gaze directly at the sun without the need for solar eclipse glasses.

During totality, observers have the remarkable opportunity to witness the sun's corona, revealing dark-pink towers and loops of electrically charged plasma extending far into space, often many times larger than Earth's diameter. The "prominences," as they're called, were particularly spectacular and vast during the last total solar eclipse in Australia on April 20, 2023.

The prominences will likely be visible during the total solar eclipse in North America on April 8 because the sun is at the peak of its 11-year solar cycle, known as solar maximum.

You can observe prominences for several days; simply use a hydrogen alpha telescope. Additionally, there are a few other rare phenomena you might see during totality. Here's what solar activity to watch for during the total solar eclipse.

The moon's shadow will take 100 minutes to cross North America, providing an opportunity for a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) to occur just before and be visible to everyone under a clear sky.

CMEs can indeed occur during totality. An example is one that was captured on Dec. 14, 2020, during the "Great Patagonian Eclipse" in Chile, when the sun was near its solar minimum phase.

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Solar flares are intense eruptions of radio waves, visible light, X-rays, and gamma-rays from the sun's surface. Traveling at the speed of light, they reach Earth in just eight minutes. Solar flares frequently occur after a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection).

Despite the occurrence of three X-class solar flares, the most intense category, in one week during February, it is highly improbable to witness one during totality.

"A solar flare differs from a CME as it occurs lower in the sun's atmosphere, near the moon's edge, and is visible for only a brief period," explained French. "These may resemble low-altitude prominences, appearing as red loops closer to the sun's surface."

However, for a solar flare or a CME to be visible during totality, the timing and location must align perfectly. "To be observable from Earth, it must be positioned above the sun's edge, avoiding obstruction by the moon, during the limited duration of totality," French clarified.