T–3 Years Until the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Did you expertise the spectacular totality of August 21, 2017? The first coast-to-coast complete solar eclipse in the U.S. in 99 years, that “Great American Eclipse” is destined to be equaled on April 8, 2024, when a good longer totality visits Mexico, the U.S., and Canada.

Total solar eclipse of 2024
The complete solar eclipse of 2024 takes a path by way of Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. Most of North America will see a deep partial eclipse. Times of totality are proven in Universal Time.
Sky & Telescope; supply: Fred Espenak

Now simply three years away, preparations for this “Great North American Eclipse” are already underway. Just because it did in 2014, the American Astronomical Society has fashioned the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force to assist coordinate national preparations for what’s going to arguably be a much bigger occasion than in 2017 — and you can get involved.

Celestial geometry will make it an extended and a extra geographically inclusive occasion than in 2017. “The duration of the total solar eclipse in 2017 was just over 2 minutes along most of the path while in 2024 it will be about twice as long,” says Fred Espenak, a retired NASA astrophysicist and eclipse professional often known as “Mr. Eclipse.” The most period of totality on April 8, 2024, might be 4 minutes 28 seconds in Nazas, Mexico.

The Moon’s central shadow will sweep throughout the continent in 139 minutes. You can see precisely what you’ll expertise from any location utilizing this newly developed 2024 eclipse simulator by eclipse-chaser Dan McGlaun.

After first eclipsing the Sun at dawn near the Penrhyn Atoll in the Cook Islands in the South Pacific Ocean, the Moon’s shadow will hit land at Mazatlán, Mexico, the place 4 minutes and 26 seconds of totality will strike at 12:09 p.m. native time. That’s positive to be a preferred observing location, as will Nazas and Torreon inland, although the mountainous roads there aren’t suited to a last-minute eclipse chase. 

After cruising at nearly 1,500 mph by way of the state of Coahuila in Mexico, the Moon’s shadow will convey totality that’s 4 minutes 26 seconds lengthy to the U.S. at Eagle Pass in Texas at 1:27 p.m. native time. Next comes Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, tiny slices of Tennessee and Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Unlike in 2017, there are some massive cities in the path; Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Burlington are all nicely positioned, with San Antonio and Austin proper at the southern fringe of the path.

Cities along totality
Major cities inside the path of totality on April 8, 2024.
Gregg Dinderman / Sky & Telescope

After enveloping Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, the shadow will cross into Canada, throwing elements of Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland into darkness for just below 4 minutes. An eclipsed Sun will set in the mid-Atlantic west of France.

For Americans, a second totality in seven years is a deal with. For Canadians, it’s arguably a good greater occasion. “Since this will be the first total eclipse of the Sun visible from southern Canada since February 1979, I think it will be huge!” says Alan Dyer, considered one of Canada’s best-known popularizers of astronomy and a veteran eclipse-chaser.

“Especially as it passes over or very close to Canada’s two most populous cities, Toronto and Montreal . . . though the obvious choice site would be Niagara Falls,” he says. The finest vantage level for seeing and taking pictures the eclipsed Sun over the Niagara River and Falls might be from the American facet, he factors out.

Average cloud cover along eclipse path
Average April (2000-20) cloud cowl measured from the Aqua spacecraft at roughly 1:30 p.m. native time from 2000 to 2020. Data: NASA. Eclipse monitor: Fred Espenak.
Jay Anderson / eclipsophile.com

The climatology might be important to deciding the place to go. “In Mexico, the winter dry season is in its last month by April, the southern U.S. will be in thunderstorm season, and in both the northern U.S. and into Canada spring storms and occasional snowfalls are possible,” says Canadian meteorologist and eclipse professional Jay Anderson, who just lately printed intensive weather advice on the 2024 eclipse. “Go south or keep an eye on the forecast — with bad weather, there may be a lot of rushing about, so watch the forecast and get into position a day early.” 

“I’ll probably go to Mexico or Texas,” says Espenak. “If Texas, I will remain mobile to drive up to 1,000 miles northeast of Texas one to two days before the eclipse if the weather forecast looks bad for Texas.” Staying in-country and driving, not flying, may even make it simpler to hold telescopes and pictures gear.

With a heightened curiosity in complete solar eclipses post-2017 and a path of totality that’s wider and much more accessible, the “Great North American Eclipse” of April 8, 2024, will see many thousands and thousands try and expertise the longest totality of their lives. However, spring climate implies that a profitable eclipse-chase in the U.S. and Canada could require mobility — and a contact of luck.


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