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Missed it in 2017? Mark Your Calendars For The Next Solar Eclipse

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Missed it in 2017? Mark Your Calendars For The Next Solar Eclipse

If you were lucky enough to see and experience this month’s total eclipse of the Sun, probably the very first words out of your mouth after having witnessed this incredible demonstration of the machinery of the solar system was, “When can I see another one?” Or if you happened to have missed it, you only have to wait another 8 years.

Prior to 2017, there had only been three total solar eclipses visible from the contiguous U.S. dating back to 1960. In contrast, today’s young generation of Americans will see five total solar eclipses over the USA in the next 35 years. This will be a defining feature of their lifetimes.

When are the next solar eclipses?

  • April 8, 2024: this path will stretch from central Texas to northern New England. The duration of totality will average just under 4 minutes (4 minutes 27 seconds in Texas). Interestingly, the path of totality will again encompass Carbondale, Illinois, who played host to this year’s spectacle – their second total eclipse in less than 7 years!
  • August 23, 2044: this solar eclipse will envelop much of northeastern Montana and a slice of westernmost North Dakota near local sunset. Totality will last only around 100 seconds, but the width of the shadow path is immense: in excess of 300 miles.
  • August 12, 2045: A truly great eclipse will visit the United States, stretching east-southeast along a broad arc from northern California, through Kansas/Oklahoma and then down into Florida. Totality will last unusually long, ranging from 4 minutes 22 seconds along the Pacific coast to 6 minutes 06 seconds at Port St. Lucie, Florida.
  • March 30, 2052 will see the Moon’s shadow clip the southern tip of southern Texas (Brownsville will see 1 minute 48 seconds of totality). The shadow then continues northeast across the Gulf of Mexico, grazing the Louisiana Parishes that border Barataria Bay, the Mississippi Delta and Breton Sound, before streaking across the Florida Panhandle, clipping the southeast corner of Alabama, rolling through the lower third of Georgia before heading out to sea at the South Carolina coast. And yes, as is the case in 2017, Charleston, South Carolina will be in the totality path!
  • March 30, 2033: We should also note that a swath of our vast 49th state of Alaska will be darkened by the Moon’s shadow on this date. The northern and western part of the “Great Land State” will be inside the totality path. Nome will see 2 minutes 30 seconds of total eclipse. Alaska also played host to the total eclipses of 1963 and 1972, both occurring in the month of July.

Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA’s GSFC

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3 comments

1 Susan Higgins { 08.24.17 at 9:52 am }

Hi Jim Nareau, We chatted with astronomer Joe Rao, and here’s what he said:
“The better question so far as eclipses over the contiguous US is concerned, is why do total eclipses always seem to fall on a Monday?
February 26, 1979: Monday
August 21, 2017:Monday
April 8, 2024: Monday

As for the “majority” of solar eclipses in August, it may seem that way but it’s not quite the case. Since beginning of the 21st century, there have been 26 solar eclipses (I am including
of all types, annular, partial as well as totals). Of these, only 2 (in 2018 and 2017) occurred in August. That’s only 2 out of 26 for
a percentage of 7.6%.
P.S. Prior to 1979, the total eclipses that occurred over the contiguous US on July 20, 1963
and March 7, 1970 fell not on a Monday, but on Saturday.”

2 Susan Higgins { 08.23.17 at 11:07 am }

Hi Jim, that’s a great question! We’ll check in with our astronomer, Joe Rao, and get back to you!

3 jim nareau { 08.23.17 at 6:32 am }

why do the majority of solar eclipses seem to be in August? Would that indicate that in the southern hemisphere they would more likely occur in our winter months?

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