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| Astronomy Essentials on Apr 28, 2014

When is the next total solar eclipse in the U.S.?

The next total solar eclipse visible from the mainland U.S. will be on August 21, 2017.

The next total solar eclipse visible in the mainland United States will come on August 21, 2017. The next total eclipse after that for U.S. observers will be on April 8, 2024.

Image Credit: NASA Eclipse Web Site

Check out the map at right. It shows all the total solar eclipses occurring in North America from 2001-2050, thanks to the eclipse master Fred Espenak.

During a total solar eclipse – whenever the new moon swings directly in front of the sun and completely covers it – the sky turns suddenly from day into night, and stars and planets pop into view. What’s more, a total solar eclipse shows you the sun’s normally invisible corona. It’s a breathtaking sight!

In addition to total eclipses, there are other sorts of eclipses as well, and some of them might be visible from your location. In 2013, the next eclipse will be a hybrid solar eclipse on November 3, 2013. Read more about the November 3, 2013 hybrid solar eclipse here. A hybrid eclipse occurs when the magnitude of an eclipse changes during the event from less to greater than one, so the eclipse appears to be total at some locations on Earth and annular at other locations.

Partial solar eclipse for North America on October 23, 2014

The moon passes more or less between the Earth and sun every month. This is the new moon phase. More often than not, no eclipse happens at new moon, because the new moon usually sweeps to the north or to the south of the sun. There are several lunar and solar eclipses each year, however.

Look here for a complete list of solar eclipses between the years 2011-2030.


Are lunar eclipses more common than solar eclipses?

A total solar eclipse in August, 1999 by Fred Espenak.  It's a combination of 22 photographs that were digitally processed to highlight faint features. The outer pictures of the sun's corona were digitally altered to enhance dim, outlying waves and filaments. The inner pictures of the usually dark moon were enhanced to bring out its faint glow from doubly reflected sunlight.   This image was NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for April 8, 2001.

A total solar eclipse in August, 1999 by Fred Espenak. It’s a combination of 22 photographs that were digitally processed to highlight faint features. The outer pictures of the sun’s corona were digitally altered to enhance dim, outlying waves and filaments. The inner pictures of the usually dark moon were enhanced to bring out its faint glow from doubly reflected sunlight. This image was NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day for April 8, 2001.

Bottom line: The next total solar eclipse in the United States will take place on August 21, 2017.