Tuesday's totality was the first of two in a row in South America, but North America will get solar eclipses in 2021, 2023 and 2024.

By Jamie Carter
July 03, 2019
VW Pics/Getty Images

Everyone’s going eclipse-crazy. The first total solar eclipse since August 2017’s “Great American Eclipse,” Tuesday's dramatic eclipse in the southern hemisphere reminded many North Americans of the events of that summer day two years ago. This stunning celestial event is a great excuse to travel, but did you know that 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. Just occasionally, a new moon gets exactly between Earth and the sun, and a solar eclipse occurs.

When is the next eclipse in North America?

The next solar eclipse that will be visible from North America is coming on June 10, 2021 when a partial solar eclipse will be viewable from the north-eastern U.S. and Canada. The experience will be a little like in 2017, with solar eclipse glasses essential throughout the event, though this one happens at sunrise. Those in New York and Boston will have to be awake at 5:30 a.m. to see a 73-percent eclipsed sun appear on the eastern horizon. Montreal and Ottawa, Canada will see an 80-percent eclipsed sun. However, the epicenter is in Ontario, Canada, where the event will be a rather special “Ring of Fire” eclipse, also known as an annular solar eclipse.

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. Unless you can get to the ultra-remote Baffin Bay or Northwestern Passages, the best place to be on June 10, 2021 will be Polar Bear Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, where a perfect Ring of Fire will last for 3 minutes and 33 seconds from 5:57 a.m. with 94 percent of the sun obscured.

A “Ring of Fire” rehearsal

On Oct. 14, 2023, another annular solar eclipse will occur in North America. This time it will be much easier to see than in 2021, with another Ring of Fire lasting over four minutes visible across the western U.S. from Oregon through Nevada, Utah, Texas, 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, Capitol Reef National Park in Utah, 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 at 1:22 a.m. 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 unforgettable. 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. Less than 100 percent might as well be 0 percent.

Jamie Carter is editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com

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