Yesterday, the US experienced one of the biggest astronomical events of the decade: a total solar eclipse that crossed the country from coast to coast for the first time since 1918. If you’re heartbroken you missed it, don’t worry. You ought to get a few other chances over your lifetime.
Total solar eclipses happen every 18 months or so, when the Moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun on its orbit around our planet. If you’re in the direct path of the Moon’s shadow — called the path of totality — you will see the Sun go dark. Often, however, the path of totality goes over the ocean or Antarctica. So that’s why whenever a total solar eclipse crosses easily reachable areas, it’s such a big deal. And one that shouldn’t be missed.
So if you didn’t catch totality yesterday, here are the next total solar eclipses that will cross at least part of the continental US.
April 8th, 2024
The next total solar eclipse to cross the United States will take place in fewer than seven years. This eclipse will also be visible from Mexico and a tiny slice of Canada. Seven years isn’t too far ahead to start planning for it. And remember: last-minute travel plans aren’t a great idea.
August 12th, 2045
The next big total solar eclipse to cross the continental US from coast to coast again is a little more far off into the future. The path of totality for this one is pretty similar to yesterday’s eclipse, but a bit more to the South.
March 30th, 2052
Okay, this is really far off into the future, but maybe you’ll still be around? Totality will barely touch the US, but you could get a glimpse of it in southern Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia.
More total eclipses will cross just a few states in 2078 and 2079 as well. It’ll be a treat if you’ve got really good genes and are still roaming the planet then.
Of course, you don’t have to wait for eclipses to cross the US. In fact, a total solar eclipse will cross Chile and Argentina on July 2nd, 2019. Then another one will pass over Chile and Argentina again on December 14th, 2020. Talk about luck.
So if you suffered from eclipse FOMO yesterday, start planning now for the future. I was in New York and only saw a partial eclipse. Now I know where I’ll be on April 8th, 2024.