See where future US eclipses will be visible. | Trending Viral hub

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See where future US eclipses will be visible.

How rare are total solar eclipses, which require a perfect alignment of the Sun and Moon?

Credit:

Shuyao Xiao; Fountain: POT (data)

This article is part of a special report about the total solar eclipse that will be visible from parts of the US, Mexico and Canada on April 8, 2024.

On April 8, a total solar eclipse will cross 15 US states from Texas to Maine. The exhibit is unusual enough that hotels are booking along the path and thousands of people plan to travel to see it.

But how rare are solar eclipses?


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In the 20th century, 228 were recorded somewhere on Earth, of which 71 were total solar eclipses (if the sun and moon don’t line up perfectly, you’ll see a partial eclipse). On average, a total solar eclipse is visible somewhere on the planet every 1.5 years. Many of these occur over the ocean or remote and sparsely occupied places. In the United States, the chance of seeing a solar eclipse, particularly a total solar eclipse, is much lower.

Over the past century, from 1924 to 2023, only 13 total solar eclipses crossed the contiguous United States or Alaska. And in the next 100 years, only 11 more will be visible. So while they’re not unheard of, a total solar eclipse is still a once-in-a-decade or even once-in-a-lifetime spectacle for most Americans.

The map shows the paths of total solar eclipses over 200 years.

Credit: Shuyao Xiao; Fountain: POT (data)

The next total solar eclipse in the continental United States will occur in 2033, but totality will be limited to only parts of Alaska. For another event like 2024, where millions can witness the spectacle, we will have to wait until 2045.

That’s when a total solar eclipse will span the US from coast to coast again. The moon’s threshold shadow will first land in California and then travel across a wide stretch of territory including Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama before finally leaving the Florida coast.

Since 1924, some states have been lucky enough to witness multiple total eclipses, while others have experienced relatively few or none. Alaska has been the luckiest; Five eclipses have crossed its borders during this time and four more will occur before 2125. There have been four in Massachusetts and another will occur in 2079. Montana has seen three and there will be two more by the end of this century. Delaware, Arizona, and the District of Columbia have not experienced totality even once during this period.

The map shows areas that experienced more than one eclipse in 200 years.

Credit: Shuyao Xiao; Fountain: POT (data)

Watching the solar atmosphere glow from your doorstep is undeniably special. However, if an eclipse doesn’t come, these celestial wonders are definitely worth the trip.

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