It’s not too early to make reservations for places to stay near the path of totality, for the total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024. After this event, we won’t have another total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous U.S. until August 23, 2044! The eclipse path will sweep across North America, Mexico and eastern Canada. A partial solar eclipse will be visible over North and Central America.
Total solar eclipse
Partial eclipse begins: at 15:42 UTC (11:42 a.m. EDT) on April 8. Total eclipse begins: at 16:38 UTC (12:38 p.m. EDT) on April 8. Greatest eclipse: at 18:17 UTC (2:17 p.m. EDT) on April 8. Total eclipse ends: at 19:55 UTC (3:55 p.m. EDT) on April 8. Partial eclipse ends: at 20:52 UTC (4:52 p.m. EDT) on April 8. Note: The instant of greatest eclipse – when the axis of the moon’s shadow cone passes closest to Earth’s center – takes place at 18:17 UTC (2:17 p.m. EDT). It’s a relatively long total eclipse with a duration of totality lasting 4.47 minutes.
Greatest eclipse takes place one day after the moon reaches perigee, its closest point to Earth for the month. During the April 8, 2024, eclipse, the sun is located in the direction of the constellation Aries.
The Saros catalog describes the periodicity of eclipses. The eclipse belongs to Saros 139. It is number 30 of 71 eclipses in the series. All eclipses in this series occur at the moon’s ascending node. The moon moves southward with respect to the node with each succeeding eclipse in the series.
An eclipse season is an approximate 35-day period during which it’s inevitable for at least two (and possibly three) eclipses to take place. The next eclipse season has two eclipses: October 2 and October 17, 2024.
Michael Zeiler of GreatAmericanEclipse.com has generously given us permission to share his eclipse maps for the total solar eclipse. Here you can get a better idea of where you’ll want to be and when to see this unique phenomenon.
Fred Espenak is a scientist emeritus at Goddard Space Flight Center. For decades, he has been NASA's expert on eclipses, and some of you may know him as Mr. Eclipse. Fred maintains NASA's official eclipse web site (eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov) as well as his personal web site on eclipse photography (mreclipse.com). Now retired and living in rural Arizona, Fred spends most clear nights losing sleep and photographing the stars (astropixels.com). His latest website is devoted to helping you enjoy eclipses (www.eclipsewise.com). He is an EarthSky content partner.
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