When is the next solar eclipse in the US?
The next solar eclipse crossing North America is three years away. It’s never too early to prepare for an awesome event. A few Midwest towns are in the perfect place.
A few times every year, the sun, moon and Earth align to create a solar eclipse, but the spectacle seldom happens close to home. However, residents across North America need to wait only a few more years to see another solar eclipse without traveling too far.
The last total solar eclipse that was visible from North America occurred in 2017 during an event dubbed the Great American Eclipse. The total phase of this event, called "totality," was visible only from U.S. soil.
FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2017, file photo, the moon almost eclipses the sun during a near total solar eclipse as seen from Salem, Ore. An economic analysis of last summer's total eclipse found that nearly 192,000 people traveled to Wyoming to view the event. In addition, the study released Monday, Dec. 11, by the state Office of Tourism estimated that the celestial event boosted the state's economy by an estimated $63.5 million. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, file)
A partial solar eclipse was visible from part of the eastern U.S. and Canada right at sunrise on Thursday, June 10, but this event pales in comparison to a total eclipse when day turns to night for several minutes.
Luckily for those in North America, there will be two opportunities to see a solar eclipse over the next three years, including a "ring of fire" solar eclipse and a total solar eclipse.
On Oct. 14, 2023, the moon will once again block out the sun over part of the U.S., but the celestial alignment will be an annular solar eclipse as opposed to a total solar eclipse.
During this type of event, the moon is a bit farther away from the Earth than normal, meaning that it is not quite big enough to block out the sun completely. As a result, it creates a "ring of fire" in the sky.
This is not as impressive as a total solar eclipse, but it will still put on a show across the western United States, Mexico, Central America and northern South America.
The new moon crosses in front of the sun creating an annular eclipse over West Mitten, left, and East Mitten buttes, Sunday, May 20, 2012, in Monument Valley, Ariz. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
The small area where the ring of fire will be visible includes some notable locations, including San Antonio and Corpus Christi, Texas, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon and the Four Corners where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona come together.
People in areas outside of this path will still see a partial solar eclipse on that day, including nearly all of North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
This will serve as a practice run for new eclipse photographers who want to test out their cameras before the main event unfolds just six months later.
People who are passionate about seeing the next total solar eclipse in the U.S., Canada or Mexico should mark April 8, 2024, on the calendar now and start making plans for the big day.
This will be a full-blown total solar eclipse that will be even more impressive than its predecessor in 2017.
“We won’t be disappointed, because compared to 2017, this is a long eclipse,” expert eclipse photographer and eclipse educator Gordon Telepun said.
During the 2017 eclipse, totality lasted up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds, but during the 2024 eclipse, totality will last longer than 4 minutes for some onlookers.
Additionally, millions of people live in the path of totality, including residents of Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and the southern part of Montreal.
This highly-anticipated event is still nearly three years away, but the weather is already being taken into consideration by some hopeful onlookers like Telepun.
“In the U.S., at the beginning of April, any region along the path of the eclipse is at risk for poor weather,” Telepun said.
The best odds for cloud-free conditions on eclipse day are in Mexico, Texas and Arkansas. More often than not, early April brings frequent clouds to the northeastern U.S., eastern Canada and Atlantic Canada.
Telepun warns that even people that live in the path of totality for the 2024 eclipse may want to consider traveling to a spot where the weather forecast is more favorable.
“If you live in the path, you certainly can consider your house your primary observing site. But then you have to plan for a minimum of two alternative observing sites along the path” in case it is cloudy, Telepun said.
Traveling far from home or to a different part of the country may pay off for the 2024 eclipse, as the next time a total solar eclipse will be visible from the contiguous U.S. will not be until 2044, followed by an encore in 2045.
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