This map shows the 20-year (2000-2020) “median cloud fraction” in the month of April at approximately 1:30 pm local time as measured from NASA’s Aqua satellite. The path of totality on April 8, 2024, is shown with red lines marking the northern and southern limits and a blue line up the center. Based on this climatological cloud cover map, Mexico and southern Texas offer the best prospects for a clear view of totality. Data courtesy: NASA.
In August of 2017 America went crazy for the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse on US soil since 1918 and it provided a great opportunity for scientists and all sky watchers. What was referred to as “The Great American Solar Eclipse” took place on August 21st, 2017 when the moon passed between the sun and earth. Total solar eclipses occur somewhere on Earth every year or so, but generally cast their shadows over oceans or remote land masses. If you missed the 2017 total solar eclipse or it turned out to be cloudy in your particular area then there will be another opportunity in just under a year from now on Monday, April 8th, 2024. This time the Moon’s dark shadow, about 115 miles wide, will cross Mexico, sweep northeast from Texas to Maine, and then darken the Canadian Maritimes.
Cities inside the totality path for the April 8th, 2024 total solar eclipse (Courtesy GreatAmericanEclipse.com)
The next total solar eclipse visible on US soil will come in just a little more than one year from now on Monday, April 8th, 2024. This one will feature a duration of totality up to 4 minutes and 27 seconds which is almost double that of “The Great American Eclipse” of August 21, 2017. It is estimated that the 2017 total solar eclipse was witnessed by around 20 million people from Oregon to South Carolina and the next one is very likely to be viewed by many millions more. The prediction of “many millions more viewers” is quite safe considering the fact that there are 31 million people already living in the totality path which will extend in a southwest-to-northeast fashion from Texas to Maine.
The solar eclipse of April 8, 2024, will be total in a narrow path from Mexico to the Canadian Maritimes and partial to the northwest and southeast. Yellow curves indicate how much of the Sun is covered by the Moon outside the path of totality. The difference between a total solar eclipse and a partial one is literally the difference between night and day, so get yourself into the path of totality if you can. Courtesy GreatAmericanEclipse.com
In the US, totality will begin on April 8th, 2024 at 1:27 (CDT) in Texas and will end in Maine at 3:35 pm (EDT). The narrow path of totality—where the Moon covers the Sun completely, causing a total eclipse – runs through Mexico (from SinaloatoCoahuila), the US (from Texasto Maine), and Canada (from OntariotoNewfoundland). And if you happen to live in southern Illinois or southeastern Missouri then you will be lucky enough to be in the “totality zone” for the second time when including the 2017 celestial event. A partial eclipse will be visible across nearly all of North America, and a sliver of western Europe.
This animated GIF shows the Moon’s shadow arcing across the Pacific, then traversing North America, and ending at sunset not far from Spain. The longest duration will be near Torreon, Mexico at 4 minutes and 27 seconds. The inner black circle, the umbra, is where the shadow is complete — a total eclipse of the Sun. The outer shadow circle, the penumbra, shows the extent of the partial eclipse. The partial eclipse will be slight near the outer circle and deep near the path of totality.
During a total solar eclipse, the Moon blocks the Sun’s bright face — the photosphere — briefly revealing our star’s outer atmosphere: the shimmering corona, or “crown.” The corona is always there, but we usually can’t see it because the photosphere is about a million times brighter and drowns it out. When the Moon covers the Sun’s bright face, the corona is definitely the main attraction, and depending on location, the corona will be visible for up to 4 minutes 28 seconds.
These are the times and durations of the eclipse at several points inside the path of the total solar eclipse.
Made of rarefied gas heated to millions of degrees, with its atoms highly ionized (stripped of electrons), the corona gets sculpted into streamers and loops by the Sun’s powerful magnetic field and shines with a light seen nowhere else. Those who have witnessed it say it is hauntingly beautiful and one of the most awesome sights in all of nature. During those moments of totality, it is safe to look directly at the Sun, even through binoculars or a telescope. But whenever any part of the photosphere is uncovered, it is essential to view the Sun through a safe solar filter, that is, one that meets the transmission requirements of the ISO 12312-2 international standard. Such filters are widely available and are not too costly. Looking at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through dark sunglasses or any other unapproved filter is a recipe for serious and potentially permanent eye injury.
The moon covers the sun during a total solar eclipse in Piedra del Aguila, Argentina, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Credit for photo: AP (Natacha Pisarenko)
At the beginning and end of totality, the thin middle layer of the Sun’s atmosphere, the chromosphere, blazes in an arc of ruby red. The sky darkens to a deep twilight blue, with yellow, orange, and pink sunrise/sunset colors on the horizon in all directions. Bright stars and planets may become visible in the darkened sky and the air temperature will often drop noticeably. The dark sky even tricks nocturnal animals into thinking it’s nighttime and you may hear crickets chirping or see birds returning to their nests.
Remember…when it comes to solar eclipses…99% is definitely not the same as 100%…getting inside the path of totality is critical as this is the only place the corona can be seen.
One final note… after 2024, the next total solar eclipse to be visible from the United States will be in 2044.
Meteorologist Paul Dorian
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For WUWT’s coverage of the 2017 Eclipse see the post below:
We’ll see it from the same place we saw the 2017 eclipse.
Oh, good. I live very close to the area of totality in Texas.
If you experience it, note the temperature drop during it. Write it down. That tells you how much the sun’s energy is heating the AIR around you. As the sun disappears, the air temp will drop. Maybe as much as 10F…
Memorable experience could be away from built up areas.
As eclipse fades out there is sudden interruption of silence by burst of birds’ dawn chorus.
My experience during an 8-minute eclipse in La Paz was about 1 deg F per minute, which resulted in dust devils developing in the desert.
In the far east of Russia they are enduring the doomsday kind of solar eclipse when day turned to night this Tuesday.
Russia’s Shiveluch volcano in Kamchatka Peninsula ‘explosively’ erupted sending ash plumes up to 19 kilometres (12 miles) high.
Nearby villages are covered in inches of volcanic ash.
The last gigantic blast occurred in 1964, creating a new crater and covering an area of nearly 100 square kilometres (nearly two Manhattans in MSM units) with pyroclastic flows.
Kamchatka volcanoes have significant effect on the Arctic events due to low altitude of the stratosphere at volcano’s latitude (as low as 8-10 km) and direction of the polar jet stream.
It may be too late in the year to cause SSW and much of an effect on winter type polar vortex break which usually sends masses of cold Arctic air into the N America and the NW Europe.
For the climate anxious it could mean the end of the world
Looking forward to this, inviting relatives, getting glasses, etc. I think we get about 20 seconds of totality, being right on the edge of the zone. We’ll have to make it count.
Its worth taking a drive to experience it longer. Will you be around in 2044?
We might have a different experience. The roads won’t be fun, scouting a location won’t be fun. Crowds won’t be fun. On the other hand, you have this 115-mile wide band of totality, and it’s a two-minute walk within our neighborhood to reach the edge of it. If that 20-26 seconds is just as total as it is anywhere, then I’d be inclined to stay and set up to our heart’s content. Planning is the key. If you don’t plan ahead, you need to go to a big field where parking, crowds, etc, might spoil the experience. But if I measure everything, I can set up a table and chairs, we can have a great angle for the entire event as long as it’s not too cloudy.
Even if it came to the UK, the clouds would obscure it.
the trick will be to find a lengthy highway that parallels the path of totality. we had planned to watch 2017 in casper, wy but were able to bug out to douglas, wy thanks to i25. it was a good move. could have easily gone west along 26 as well. don’t be fixed to one spot.
also, i remain shocked at how many people were afraid remove their glasses during actual totality. don’t be that guy.
Probability says that they are correct to do so. Photons emitted by sun’s electrons do not perceive time, the fourth dimension of the spacetime, A quantum experiment shows that a particle of light travel both forwards and backwards in time, at the same moment so no guaranties that eye will not be hit by some of those weird photons travelling back in time.
Thank you for the information. Have begun to focus on this eclipse. Only problem, here in the central midwest, April generally isn’t a great month for observing the skies. Can only hope….
There is a total solar eclipse coming up on April 20, 2023. South Africa, the Indian Ocean, north west Western Australia (just) and then Indonesia.
Another good site for TSE info:
Enjoyed the 2017 TSE experience.Will head to either Indy or Cleveland next year where relatives live.
Can anyone offer info on typical April weather (especially cloud cover) in the various locations? I’m trying to decide where to go. We didn’t see the last one because it ended up overcast.
From Zharkova’s chart, the peak of solar activity in the 24th and 25th solar cycles should be similar. Now there will be a strong decline in the Sun’s magnetic activity until the end of the 26th solar cycle.
Great post, thanks. My wife and I have started planning already.