Experience the Next Solar Eclipse

Experience the Next Solar Eclipse

By Iva Fedorka

If you follow celestial events, mark October 14, 2023 on your calendar. On that date, an annular solar eclipse will cross North, Central, and South America and be visible to millions of people in the Western Hemisphere. Then, on April 8, 2024, the shadow of the Moon will cross Mexico, the United States, and Canada in a total solar eclipse.

What is an Annular Eclipse?

In an annular eclipse, the Moon does not completely obscure the Sun as it does during a total eclipse.

In the United States, the October eclipse will begin on the coast of Oregon and travel to the Texas Gulf Coast. It will be visible, weather-permitting, in Oregon, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas and in some parts of California, Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona. It will then pass over Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Panama and will travel through Colombia, South America, before ending in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Natal, Brazil.

What Happens During a Total Solar Eclipse?

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly between the Sun and Earth and completely blocks the Sun, a phase known as totality. The sky will darken and look like dawn or dusk. Weather permitting, people in the path of totality will be able to see the Sun’s outer atmosphere or corona. The corona is usually not visible because of the Sun’s brightness.

As the Sun, Moon, and Earth align, the shadow of the Moon will be cast onto the Earth’s surface. At first, the Sun will look like someone took a bite out of it. Totality will last approximately two minutes, and then the Moon's shadow will move on.

The 2024 total solar eclipse will begin over the South Pacific Ocean and will become visible on the Western coast of Mexico at approximately 11:07 a.m. PT. Its U.S. path will start in Texas and move through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Entering Canada in Southern Ontario, it will continue through Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, exiting the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland at 5:16 p.m. NST.

Safety First

Although eclipses are beautiful to watch, never look directly at the sun without using special protective eyewear. Viewing the Sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter will cause severe eye injury. Observe the partial phases only while using safe solar viewing or “eclipse” glasses, a safe handheld solar viewer, a pinhole projector, or other indirect viewing methods.​

What’s Next

The next total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous U.S. will occur on August 23, 2044.

Ask your Fisher Science Education sales representative about getting eye protection to safely watch the eclipse and check online to see when these events begin near you.

Short Description

Learn more about solar eclipses, natural phenomena that occur when the Sun, Moon, and Earth align, and the Moon’s outline temporarily obscures the Sun from view.

Discussion Questions

  • Why is it important not to look directly at the sun during an eclipse?
  • When and where are the next visible solar or lunar eclipses happening near you?