Two Eclipses Are Coming to North America in the Next Few Years — Here's When and Where to See Them

North America will experience solar eclipses in 2023 and 2024.

Total Solar Eclipse Time Lapse
Photo: VW Pics/Getty Images

Everyone's going eclipse-crazy. First, there was August 2017's "Great American Eclipse," followed by 2021's dramatic eclipse in the southern hemisphere. With two more big solar events on the horizon, North America is now in a "golden age" of solar eclipses.

What is a solar eclipse?

Despite the sun being roughly 400 times larger than the moon, it's also about 400 times further away from Earth. The moon's orbit of Earth is tilted slightly from the path the sun takes through our sky, but it does intersect. Occasionally, a new moon gets exactly between Earth and the sun, and a solar eclipse occurs.

What is an annular solar eclipse?

It's when the moon doesn't quite cover the sun because it's at the furthest point from Earth in its slightly elliptical monthly orbit, so it's smaller in the sky. What observers in a narrow path across Earth's surface see will be a perfect circle of light around the moon, though solar eclipse glasses must be worn at all times.

When is the next eclipse in North America?

The next solar eclipse is coming on Oct. 14, 2023, and will be visible from North America, where the event will be a rather special annular solar eclipse, also known as a "Ring of Fire" eclipse. This time it will be much easier to see than in 2021, lasting over four minutes and visible across the western U.S. from Oregon through Nevada, Utah, Texas, and New Mexico, as well as in Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Columbia, and Brazil. Key tourist attractions crossed by this eclipse include Edzná, a Mayan temple in Mexico, and in the U.S., Oregon's Crater Lake National Park, Utah's Capitol Reef National Park, and Arizona's Monument Valley.

Los Angeles will see a 70-percent eclipsed sun at 9:24 a.m. while Las Vegas will see 82 percent, Denver 78 percent, Chicago 42 percent, Washington D.C. 29 percent, and New York 23 percent. However, the epicenter of this event is going to be Texas, which will not only have a good chance of clear weather but will also be staging a dress rehearsal for a much bigger, more important eclipse coming up just six months later. Austin will see an 88 percent partial solar eclipse at 11:54 a.m. while San Antonio will see an exact Ring of Fire. Lost Maples State Natural Area in Texas will also see that spectacle… and just six months later, it will see a "proper'" total solar eclipse.

Great North American Eclipse of 2024

This is the one to get excited about and, if you get yourself beneath a clear sky, it will provide you with that long transcendental totality you always wanted. Called the "Great North American Eclipse" because it also crosses Canada and Mexico, the events of April 8, 2024, could be era-defining and unforgettable.

The key to seeing an eclipse is to track the totality, or the path of the moon's shadow across Earth's surface. You'll have to be in the path of totality to see the sun completely eclipsed by the moon. At lunchtime, totality will sweep across Mazatlán, Durango, and Coahuila in Mexico, then Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Vermont, and Maine, ending over New Brunswick and Newfoundland in Canada.

Austin and Dallas, Texas, will enjoy totality for over four minutes (twice that of 2017's "Great American Eclipse"), and only slightly less will be visible from Indianapolis, Niagara Falls, and Montreal. Just like in 2017, anyone standing outside of the 100 miles-wide path of totality will see a partial solar eclipse. New York will see an 89-percent eclipsed sun, while Los Angeles will see 49 percent, Las Vegas 51 percent, Denver 65 percent, Washington D.C. 87 percent, Columbus, Ohio 99 percent, and San Antonio, Texas a staggeringly close 99.9 percent. However, these are not the places to remain in… get yourself to the path of totality. Seeing less than 100 percent might as well be 0 percent when it comes to experiencing a total solar eclipse.

And if you miss 2024's eclipse, you might not get another chance to see one until 2026, the next date a total solar eclipse will reach North America. If you're willing to travel, you can see a total eclipse in Spain and Iceland in 2026, and Australia and New Zealand in 2028. 

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