Friday, April 5, 2024

Does Eclipse Sky match the actual eclipse?

In anticipation of the total solar eclipse in August 2017, I designed and made Eclipse Sky.  You may not be surprised to hear that the pattern has been enjoying a surge of popularity leading up to this year's total eclipse on April 8th.  I'm thrilled that it has been so well received.  I'm particularly psyched that Pat Sloan is making one and sharing in her YouTube videos and website.

That said, I need to address the question of whether the design is an accurate representation of a total eclipse.  I've been contacted multiple times by people informing me that I "got the order wrong" and that the panels should be in reverse order.

First, let's agree that this a quilt, not a scientific record.  There's a certain amount of artistic license.  Now let's discuss the design.

The design as I have made it correctly depicts an eclipse viewed with the naked eye (with proper eye protection, of course) in the Northern hemisphere.  The disc of the moon comes in from the right.  The quilt depicts the event from earliest in panel 1 to latest in panel 5. This is what I observed during the 2017 eclipse.

Here's a composite image of the 2017 eclipse seen from Madras, Oregon, found on the NASA website.

Image credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

When viewed or recorded through some devices, depending on the optics in the device, the image may be reversed.  This is the case for many telescopes and projectors.  You are of course free to record it this way on your own quilt if you prefer.

Also note that the angle at which the moon's disc enters and exits the disc of the sun is dependent on the location from which the eclipse is viewed. Yours may differ slightly from what I pictured in my quilt.

This website has a good animation of what to expect: .  You can enter your location to see what it would like where you are.

Are you planning to watch the total solar eclipse on April 8th?  If so, make sure you watch safely.  It's never safe for your eyes to look at the sun.  It isn't inherently more dangerous to look at it during an eclipse, it's just that you end up looking a lot longer than you should!  Here's information from NASA about safety precautions to view the eclipse.

After witnessing the total eclipse in August 2017, I'll have to settle for a partial eclipse this time around.  You can read about my 2017 eclipse day here.  If you're watching this year, take an extra peek for me!

Happy quilting,


PDF pattern available in my Etsy shop 
or ask for a print copy at your favourite quilt shop


  1. Very clever design, Joanne. I love the way you have recreated the experience in fabrics. Very cool that Pat Sloan is making it!
    We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to see the total eclipse in 2017 (we only had to drive 4 hours to see it), and vowed we would travel even farther to see it in 2024. Alas, this year is already loaded with travel and we made the painful decision not to chase across a few states to see it--a fact which I am still mourning a bit.

  2. What a terrific quilt! I saw a total eclipse years ago in the desert in South Australia. Quite a strange experience but fascinating. I often wonder what early man thought of such a phenomenon.


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