Here’s everything you need to know about the next total solar eclipse in North America
As I write this it’s exactly two years to the next total solar eclipse in North America. We’ve been here before. In fact, this website was created to celebrate and spread the word about the “Great American Eclipse” in 2017. That one crossed a lot of very empty U.S. states as it crossed from sea to shining sea from Oregon to South Carolina.
Exactly six years, 7 months and 18 days later an extraordinary slice of luck will see America again witness a stunning total solar eclipse. Yet what will happen on April 8, 2024, will be significantly different. How?
The 2024 eclipse will cross three countries
Welcome to the “Great North American Eclipse!” The path of totality will cross Mexico, the U.S., and Canada as the Moon’s central shadow takes 139 minutes to move across the continent:
Mexico: Sinaloa, Durango and Coahuila
U.S.: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, tiny slivers of Tennessee and Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
Canada: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.
The 2024 eclipse will be the longest since 2009
At its peak in Mexico and Texas totality will last for 4 minutes 28 seconds, but it will last over 4 minutes all the way up to Indianapolis. Not since the Asian eclipse of 2009 the longest of the 21st century—has a total solar eclipse over four minutes in duration been visible to a major population.
The 2024 eclipse will be seen by more people than 2017
About 12 million people witnessed totality in 2017. This time it will be at least 32 million, a figure arrived at by calculating the population under the path of totality. However, this time the path of totality is very close to major urban centers including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago, and St. Louis, all of which are within a two or three-hour drive of the path. It’s going to be busy … it’s possible that 40 or 50 million Americans will go experience totality.
The 2024 eclipse crosses a lot of cities
The path of totality in 2024 will cross major cities and plenty of towns, far more so than in 2017, as its crosses Texas and the “Rust Belt” of the U.S. It’s San Antonio and Austin, Texas that are predicted to be the major bases because of the greater chance of clear weather, though ironically both of those cities are intersected by the edge of the path. Cities that are guaranteed totality everywhere within the city limits include:
- Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico
- Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico
- Fredericksburg, Texas
- Waco, Texas
- Dallas, Texas
- Hot Springs, Arkansas
- Carbondale, Illinois (where the paths of the 2017 and 2024 eclipses cross)
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Erie, Pennsylvania
- Buffalo, New York
- Rochester, New York
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Cities that will just miss out on totality include Detroit, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Toronto.
The 2024 eclipse will be darker than 2017
Depending on where you stand it will be possible to get 4 minutes 28 seconds of totality because the path of totality—the Moon’s central shadow—is much wider than in 2017. Since the Moon is a little closer to Earth during the event the path is up to 120 miles wide rather than the 80 miles or so in 2017. Cue a longer, darker eclipse because you’ll be deeper into the shadow.
Either way, with just two years to go it’s time to start planning for 2024’s “Great North American Eclipse.”
PIC: Credit: Michael Zeiler at GreatAmericanEclipse.com