8-4-24 is the date of America’s next total solar eclipse.
Yesterday’s rare American coast-to-coast total solar eclipse was the first total solar eclipse in history to be experienced by so many human beings. Yet a similar event is only seven years away on 8th April 2024.
One of my nephew’s emigrated to Toronto, Canada, yesterday, and although he just missed the pathway of yesterday’s total solar eclipse, Toronto will be a good location for the next one. These two American eclipses form a large X pattern over America.
Its path from Texas to Maine will cross the path of the 2017 eclipse near Carbondale, Illinois. It carries on northwards of Nova Scotia and across the Atlantic Ocean towards the UK so it will be easier to see it as a partial eclipse from the UK, clouds permitting, than yesterday’s eclipse. However, the total eclipse finishes in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, so that not only will totality be to the south of the UK but it will not reach the UK because the Earth’s rotating eastward will have taken the UK below sunset so that the Moon’s shadow will not reach the UK in time for the UK to experience a total solar eclipse. So near and yet so far!
In the interim period, there will be a very small 2% partial solar eclipse visible from the north coast of Scotland on 11th August 2018 but a better one will be on 10th June 2021 and another partial one on 25th October 2022.
However the next total solar eclipse visible in the UK will be on 23rd September 2090 and follows a track similar to that of 11 August 1999, but shifted slightly further north and occurring very near sunset. So those in the UK who want to experience a total solar eclipse will need to travel to find one.
Those with friends or relatives in USA or Canada might want to make arrangements now for the 2024 total eclipse, but there are not many opportunities even in a country as large as the USA. The 21st century eclipses over North America are here. It takes about 1000 years for every geographic location in an area the size of the USA to be able to view a total solar eclipse, so it is no surprise that the UK is rarely visited with a total solar eclipse. As the Moon is smaller than the Earth it is much easier to witness a total lunar eclipse, when the Moon passes through the much larger Earth’s shadow.