Rare Total Solar Eclipse Comes To North America

On Monday, April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will come to North America. 

Exactly six years, seven months and 18 days after the same type of solar eclipse crossed the U.S. from Oregon through South Carolina on August 21, 2017, this much longer event will be visible from within a narrow path of totality through Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, according to NASA

It comes less than six months after the Oct. 14, 2023, ‘ring of fire’ annular solar eclipse in eight states in the U.S. Southwest as well as Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Brazil. 

During a total solar eclipse, the moon appears almost exactly the same size as the sun, so it blocks the entire disk for a few minutes. The result is a beautiful totality during which the sun’s corona is visible to the naked eye. Here’s everything you need to know about this rare event. 

Detroit Free Press

What is a total solar eclipse?

This eclipse will turn day to night just as the total solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017, did, but to a greater extent. A solar eclipse occurs when a new moon is positioned precisely between Earth and the sun and casts its shadow on Earth. 

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon appears the same size in the sky as the sun, or slightly larger, so fully covers the disk of the sun, giving observers a view of the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona. 

The apparent size of the moon in the sky — and whether it can completely cover the sun’s disk during an eclipse — depends on the moon’s distance from Earth. The moon has a slightly elliptical orbit around Earth, so at two points each month, it is farthest (apogee) and closest (perigee) to Earth, making the moon appear slightly smaller and slightly larger than average in our sky. 

On April 8, 2024, the new moon will look relatively large and, therefore, cover 100% of the sun’s disk as viewed from the narrow path of totality that stretches from Sinaloa, Mexico through the U.S. to Newfoundland, Canada. The magnitude of a solar eclipse is the fraction of the diameter of the sun covered by the moon, which on April 8, 2024, will be 1.0566, according to EclipseWise.com.

Where is the total solar eclipse?

A map of the path of totality solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. (Image credit: Great American Eclipse greatamericaneclipse.com)

On April 8, 2024, all of North America and Central America will experience a solar eclipse. For most of that region, the spectacle will be solely a partial solar eclipse, though of varying obscuration. Only within the path of totality, which is 100 to 123 miles (162 to 200 kilometers) wide, will a totally eclipsed sun be visible. That path will stretch from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. It will first make land in Mazatlán in Sinaloa, Mexico and cross Durango and Coahuila. Entering the U.S. at Texas, the path of totality then moves through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland in Canada will also experience totality.

As the path travels northeast the maximum duration of totality will lessen because the moon’s distance to Earth changes. At Mexico’s Pacific coast, 4 minutes 27 seconds of totality is possible. As the moon’s shadow gets larger, the point of longest totality — where viewers could see an eclipsed sun for 4 minutes 28 seconds — will occur at Nazas near Durango, Mexico. After that point the moon’s shadow lengthens and narrows, reducing to a maximum totality of 2 minutes 52 seconds as the path exits North America at Newfoundland. 

To see the exact path of totality, check out this interactive map created by French eclipse expert Xavier Jubier. 

Where and when can I see the total solar eclipse?

Although the path of totality is wide and largely on land, this is likely to be an eclipse affected by weather. April brings unpredictable weather and tornado season in the Midwest. According to Eclipsophile, destinations in Mexico (such as Mazatlán and Torreón) have the best chances of clear skies, with Texas rated as having around a 50/50 chance.

The chances lessen as the path heads northeast. Average cloud cover climbs as the path heads northeast. However, that’s the climate. The actual weather experienced by a particular location on the day will be impossible to predict until a few days before. Make a flexible plan and be prepared to change your location when the local short-term weather forecasts arrive. the U.S. for 21 years.

Here are some notable locations and cities that will experience a total solar eclipse, together with the local time and duration of that event, according to Jubier. Note that all of these places will also see a long partial solar eclipse before and after the brief totality; their closeness to the centerline of the path of totality determines how long totality lasts: 

LocationTotality (local time)Totality duration
Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico11:07 a.m. MST4 minutes 20 seconds
Durango, Durango, Mexico12:12 p.m. CST3 minutes 50 seconds
Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico12:16 p.m. CST4 minutes 11 seconds
Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico/Eagle Pass, Texas, U.S1:27 p.m. CDT4 minutes 24 seconds
Kerrville, Texas, U.S1:32 p.m. CDT4 minutes 25 seconds
Fredericksburg, Texas, U.S1:32 p.m CDT4 minutes 25 seconds
Dallas, Texas, U.S1:40 p.m. CDT3 minutes 52 seconds
Idabel, Oklahoma, USU.S: 1:45 p.m CDT4 minutes 19 seconds
Russellville, Arkansas, U.S1:49 p.m. CDT4 minutes 12 seconds
Cape Girardeau, Missouri, U.S1:58 p.m. CDT4 minutes 7 seconds
Carbondale, Illinois, U.S1:59 p.m. CDT4 minutes 10 seconds
Bloomington, Indiana, U.S3:04 p.m. EDT4 minutes 3 seconds
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S3:06 p.m. EDT3 minutes 51 seconds
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S3:13 p.m. EDT3 minutes 50 seconds
Erie, PennsylvaniaU.S: 3:16 p.m. EDT3 minutes 43 seconds
Rochester, New York, U.S3:20 p.m. EDT3 minutes 40 seconds
Montpelier, Vermont, U.S3:27 p.m. EDT1 minutes 42 seconds
Oakfield, Maine, U.S3:31 p.m. EDT3 minutes 23 seconds
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada3:18 p.m. EDT3 minutes 31 seconds
Montreal, Quebec, Canada3:26 p.m. EDT1 minute 57 seconds
Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada4:34 p.m. ADT3 minutes 8 seconds
Tignish, Prince Edward Island, Canada4:35 p.m. ADT3 minutes 12 seconds
Catalina, Newfoundland, Canada5:13 p.m. NDT2 minutes 53 seconds

Why is the 2024 total solar eclipse so special?

The 2024 total solar eclipse is set to be a major event. Totality can last twice as long as in 2017, depending on the observer’s location. It’s also set to be the longest totality on land for over a decade, so expect eclipse-chasers from around the world to visit the path of totality. 

As a bonus, the sun’s corona during totality is expected to be huge. That’s because the sun is close to solar maximum — when it’s most active during its 11 years (or so) solar cycle

During totality, two planets will be visible. Venus will be very bright and shine 15º from the sun even before totality begins while dimmer Jupiter, 30º from the sun, will appear during totality. 

As with all eclipses, it’s important to be close to the center of the path of the moon’s shadow if you want to experience as long a spectacle as possible. In practical terms that means avoiding the edges of the path of totality, where its length drastically reduces. Aiming for close to the centerline is wise, but there’s no need to obsess about it. Besides, a clear sky remains the most important thing. 

For those after geographic oddities, the 2017 and 2024 paths cross in southern Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky, with locations such as Makanda, Carbondale and Cape Girardeau set to experience totality for the second time in seven years. For a small area of the Texas Hill Country (Uvalde, Concan, Vanderpool, Bandera and Kerrville) it will be possible to see both a ‘ring of fire’ annular solar eclipse on Oct. 14, 2023, and totality on April 8, 2024. 

Where to see the partial solar eclipse

PALEMBANG, INDONESIA – APRIL 20 : A Partial hybrid solar eclipse is seen in Palembang, Indonesia on April 20, 2023. The hybrid solar eclipse is a unique type of solar eclipse that experiences two phases simultaneously, namely the ring phase and the total phase. (Photo by Muhammad A.F/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Totality will get most of the attention and all serious eclipse-chasers will try to get to the path of totality. However, on April 8, 2024, most of North and Central America will experience a big partial solar eclipse. Here is what the biggest cities in Mexico, U.S. and Canada will experience that day at the peak of the event; only Dallas and Montreal (close to St Lawrence River) will experience totality while San Antonio gets a 99.9% partial solar eclipse.

CityPercentage of sun coveredTime (local)
Mexico City74%12:14 p.m. CST
Tijuana54%11:11 a.m. PDT
Puebla70%12:15 p.m. CST
New York90%3:35 p.m. EDT
Los Angeles49%11:12 a.m. PDT
Chicago94%2:07 p.m. CDT
Houston94%1:40 p.m. CDT
Phoenix64%11:20 a.m. MST
Philadelphia88%3:23 p.m. EDT
San Antonio99.9%1:34 p.m. CDT
San Diego54%11:11 a.m. PDT
San Jose35%11:13: a.m. PDT
Toronto99.9%3:19 p.m. EDT
Calgary26%12:43 p.m. MDT

Given that huge metropolitan areas in the U.S. northeast — New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago and St. Louis — are all within a two or three-hour drive of totality, this eclipse is likely to be a huge travel event. 

St Louis, Memphis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City are also just outside the path of totality, so expect a lot of day-trippers from these cities to travel to the path of totality. 

How to safely view the partial and total solar eclipse

NEW YORK, USA – AUGUST 21: A woman observes the total solar eclipse with solar eclipse glasses at the Times Square in New York City, United States on August 21, 2017. (Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

To safely view all of this event, you must use solar filters. Only those in the path of totality will briefly be able to remove them to see the sun’s corona with their naked eyes. Those not in the path of totality must keep them on the entire time. 

Everyone observing the partial phases of this eclipse — and for those outside the path of totality, that’s the entire event — will need to wear solar eclipse glasses while cameras, telescopes and binoculars will need solar filters placed in front of their lenses. 

Our how to observe the sun safely guide tells you everything you need to know about safe solar observations. 

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After April 2024, when is the next total solar eclipse?

After the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, the next total solar eclipse will occur on Aug. 12, 2026, when totality will be visible from Greenland, Iceland, the Atlantic Ocean and Spain. At the point of greatest eclipse close to Iceland, totality will last 2 minutes, 18 seconds. According to Eclipsophile, there’s a high chance of clouds near Greenland and Iceland, with the best chance of a clear sky in Spain, where totality will occur very low in the sky just before sunset.

For North America, the next total solar eclipses are:

  • March 30, 2033: in Alaska. 
  • Aug. 23, 2044: in Canada and the U.S. (Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota). 
  • Aug.12, 2045: U.S. (California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida), Caribbean and South America.  


Anderson, J. (2022, September 1). Total Solar Eclipse
2024 Apr. 8. Retrieved July 17, 2023 from https://eclipsophile.com/2024tse/

Bakich, M. and Zeiler, M. (2022). Field Guide to the 2023 and 2024 Solar Eclipses. https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/books/field-guide-to-the-2023-and-2024-solar-eclipses

Espenak, F. (2013, December 9). Solar eclipses: 2021-2030. NASA. Retrieved July 17, 2023 from https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEdecade/SEdecade2021.html 

Jubier, X. (n.d.). Solar eclipses: Interactive Google Maps. Retrieved July 17, 2023 from http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/SolarEclipsesGoogleMaps.html

NASA. (n.d.). Apr. 8, 2024, solar eclipse. Retrieved July 17, 2023 from https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/eclipses/2024/apr-8-total/overview/

Time and Date. (n.d.). Apr. 20, 2024 – Great North American Eclipse (total solar eclipse). Retrieved July 17, 2023 from https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2024-april-8

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