Most people have never seen a solar eclipse and never will. The reason is simple: even though solar eclipses happen every few years somewhere on our planet, the path of the moon’s shadow on Earth’s surface is relatively narrow. In order to see a full eclipse of the sun by the moon, one has to either be lucky enough to live in the shadow’s path, or able to afford to travel to a location that is in the path of the shadow. By fate of circumstance, this leaves out the vast majority of people. In that respect, being fortunate enough to see a solar eclipse is a once in a lifetime event for most mortals. So put it on your bucket list and start planning, ’cause there’s one coming to America just three years hence.
You may recall there was a solar eclipse in the U.S. not long ago in August, 2017. That one crossed the continent from Oregon to South Carolina, with a path width of only 60 to 70 miles and a peak totality of just 2 minutes and 41 seconds which occurred in the vast metropolis of Cerulean, Kentucky.
North America’s 2024 solar eclipse will begin April 8, 2024, on the Pacific coast of Mexico at Mazatlán, where the path will be about 120 miles wide and totality will last 4 minutes and 26 seconds. As the shadow moves across Mexico, totality will increase until it peaks at 4 minutes, 28 seconds shortly before crossing the Rio Grande into Texas. From this point on, the length of totality decreases as time marches on. At Eagle Pass, TX, totality is back down to 4 minutes and 26 seconds. As the moon’s shadow races northeast across the continent, the path will gradually narrow until it is only approximately 100 miles wide and totality will be down to just 2 minutes and 52 seconds when the moon’s shadow finally bids adieu to the continent and departs from Newfoundland, Canada.
In between Eagle Pass and Newfoundland, the centerline of the path of the eclipse will pass west of San Antonio and Austin, but just east of Dallas. Other major cities in the path include Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Buffalo. Major cities within easy driving distance of the eclipse include St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, Toronto, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. States in the path include Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Canadian provinces include Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The bottom line here is that there may never be a better chance for millions of people in North America to see a total solar eclipse.
By the way, an annular eclipse will occur October 14, 2023, and its path will cross the path of the 2024 total eclipse west of San Antonio. There’s a very rare opportunity to witness two eclipses in about a six month period.
There are already companies selling nice maps of the upcoming eclipses and eclipse glasses online. Just enter the search terms ‘solar eclipse 2024’ and ads will be found. Be sure you only buy ISO CERTIFIED eclipse eye protection! Order early while prices are low and they’re in good supply.
Now is the time to start planning your trip to see a wonder most people never have the opportunity to experience. Make travel and hotel reservations early. This is going to be popular! Check out reactions to the 2017 eclipse… “Total Solar Eclipse (2017)” (5:21):
Question Of The Night: What’s the most incredible natural sight you’ve ever seen?