Eclipse 2024USA 2024

Your guide to the ‘Great North American’ total solar eclipse of 2024

Mexico, the U.S. And Canada will experience a long totality on Monday, April 8, 2024 

On Monday, April 8, 2024 a rare total solar eclipse lasting a maximum of 4 minutes 28 seconds will be visible from parts of Mexico, 13 U.S. states and eastern Canada as the Moon’s central shadow sweeps across the continent in 139 magical minutes. It will come exactly 6 years, 7 months and 18 days after the “Great American Eclipse” of Monday, August 21, 2017.

Here’s everything you need to know about the “Great North American Eclipse” of 2024, which will be by far the most impressive natural event of the decade.

You might want to book a day or two off work and travel to one of 13 U.S. states—or to Canada or Mexico—to bear witness to the greatest total solar eclipse of most Americans’ lifetime.

On that day the Moon will block the Sun for up to a whopping 4 minutes 28 seconds, depending on where you stand within a 100-120 miles-wide path of totality.

That’s almost twice the totality possible during the last “Great American Eclipse” on August 21, 2017, which passed across mostly lightly-populated areas. That stunning eclipse was witnessed across the U.S. by an estimated 215 million people as a partial solar eclipse through eclipse glasses, but only around 12 million people experienced totality’s darkness in the day—and so got a chance to see the Sun’s spectacular corona glistening in the darkness of space.

It may be brief, but a naked-eye view of the corona is what makes it so important you get yourself to the path of totality if you can.

A 99% partial solar eclipse is nothing compared to a 100% total solar eclipse.

You cannot compare the two.

It’s going to look something like this simulation (which comes from Eclipse2024.org’s incredible eclipse simulator for 40,000 locations … also on YouTube):

For many more Americans this eclipse will be relatively easy. As well as being greater in terms of totality, the events of April 8, 2024 are also set to be far greater in terms of reach.

In fact, an eclipse expert has calculated that a stunning 31,625,000 people in the U.S. currently live inside the path of the total solar eclipse.

That path will cross the continent from southwest to northeast. It begins at the Pacific coast of Mexico and crosses Texas, 13 U.S. states and eastern Canada. Here’s an interactive Google Map that shows exactly where the path of totality goes.

Great North American eclipse guide map

Image: TSE2024_NorthAmerica-MICHAEL-ZEILER-GREATAMERICANECLIPSE.COM-(USED-WITH-PERMISSION)

“31,625,000 people in the US live inside the path of the total eclipse,” said Michael Zeiler, a New Mexico-based eclipse cartographer who edits GreatAmericanEclipse.com and co-authored the recently published Field Guide to the 2023 and 2024 eclipses with Michael Bakich.

To arrive at that figure Zeiler applied the U.S. Census 2020 enumeration tables at city the block level. That’s important because some cities—such as San Antonio and Austin, Texas—are split by the edges of the path of totality on April 8, 2024.

Some in those cities will see totality, some won’t.

“If you load this data into a geographic information system (GIS) plus the paths of the eclipses, you can find which blocks are within the path and do a statistical summary on the population field,” said Zeiler. “I also applied a small scaling to adjust for population differences from 2020 to 2024—it’s the most precise measure of population available.”

Zeiler also calculated that 6,718,000 people live inside the path of the annular solar eclipse on October 14, 2023. It will cross the southwestern U.S. states, and though isn’t as spectacular as a total solar eclipse (you have to keep your eclipse glasses on at all times), the resulting “ring of fire” around the Moon during maximum annularity is still something special. It’s mostly being treated as a warm-up to the really big event on April 8, 2024.

Towns and cities in the path include Mazatlán and Torreón in Mexico, Fredericksburg, Waco and Dallas in Texas, Carbondale in Illinois, Indianapolis in Indiana, Cleveland in Ohio, Buffalo and Rochester, New York and Montreal in Canada.

However, the path’s nearness to the population centers of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago and St. Louis (none are more than a two or three-hour drive) means the “Greater American Eclipse” could end up being witnessed by as many as 50 million people.

So where is the path of totality going to be?

  • Mexico: Sinaloa, Durango and Coahuila.
  • US: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
  • Canada: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.

Clear skies are most likely to occur in Mexico and Texas.

Featured image credit: Image by Jan Haerer from Pixabay