The United States is set to experience two solar eclipses in the near future, and it’s time to get excited. The first eclipse will take place on October 14, 2023, and will be visible in the western parts of the country. The second eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024, and will be visible in the eastern and central parts of the country. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of these once-in-a-lifetime events.
What is a Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, blocking the Sun’s rays and casting a shadow on Earth. There are three types of solar eclipses: total, partial, and annular. During a total solar eclipse, the Moon completely covers the Sun, and viewers on Earth can witness the Sun’s corona (outer atmosphere) around the Moon’s edge.
October 14, 2023: A Partial Solar Eclipse
On October 14, 2023, the first solar eclipse of the series will be a partial eclipse visible in the western United States. This eclipse will be visible from Alaska to Hawaii and will be at its maximum at 10:17 a.m. Pacific time. It will be a partial solar eclipse, which means that only a portion of the Sun will be blocked by the Moon. The rest of the country will experience a partial eclipse as well, but the percentage of the Sun’s surface that will be blocked will decrease the farther east you go.
April 8, 2024: A Total Solar Eclipse
On April 8, 2024, the second and final solar eclipse in the series will be a total solar eclipse, visible in the eastern and central parts of the country. The path of totality will begin in Mexico and travel northeast through Texas, the Midwest, and the northeastern United States before crossing into Canada. The duration of totality will vary depending on where you are, but will range from a few seconds to over four minutes. This will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the United States since August 2017.
How to Safely View a Solar Eclipse
It is important to take precautions when viewing a solar eclipse to protect your eyes from permanent damage. Never look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection, even during an eclipse. Use a pair of eclipse glasses or a solar filter to view the eclipse safely. Regular sunglasses are not safe for viewing an eclipse.
The upcoming solar eclipses in America in 2023 and 2024 are exciting opportunities for people across the country to witness this rare celestial event. Make sure you’re prepared with the proper equipment to safely view the eclipse and enjoy the show!