Inside a Week to Totality: Weather Prospects, Solar Activity and More

Eclipse
Totality and the 'diamond ring effect,' captured during the 2023 total solar eclipse as seen from Ah Chong Island, Australia. Credit: Eliot Herman

Looking at prospects for eclipse day and totality.

Have you picked out your site to observe the eclipse on April 8th? Next Monday, the shadow of the Moon crosses Mexico, the contiguous United States from Texas to Maine, and the Canadian Maritimes for the last time for this generation. And while over 30 million people live in the path of totality, millions more live within an easy day drive of the path. I’m expecting that many folks will decide to make a three-day weekend of it, and eclipse travel traffic will really pick up this coming Saturday, April 6th.

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NASA Experiments Planned for the April 8th Total Solar Eclipse

Totality!
Totality! As seen from Madras, Oregon, during the 2017 total solar eclipse. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Totality and the April 8th total solar eclipse offers a rare chance to study the Sun.

We’re less than three weeks out now, until the April 8th total solar eclipse crosses North America. And while over 31 million residents live in the path of totality, many more will make the journey to briefly stand in the shadow of the Moon. Several scientific projects are also underway to take advantage of the event.

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Into Totality: Our Complete Guide to the April 8th Total Solar Eclipse Across North America

Eclipse
Totality! The view from the 2017 total solar eclipse. Credit Mary McIntyre FRAS.

What to watch for on April 8th as totality sweeps across the continent.

The time has come. Seven years ago on an August afternoon, the shadow on the Moon swept across the United States. Now we’re in the one month stretch, leading up to the big ticket astronomical event for 2024: the April 8th total solar eclipse spanning North America.

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How Rare Are Total Solar Eclipses… Really?

2017 Eclipse
Totality, as seen during the 2017 total solar eclipse. Credit: Shahrin Ahmad.

As April’s ‘Great North American Eclipse’ nears, here’s a look at eclipses in time and space.

It comes around every total solar eclipse, and I fully expect to hear it trotted out once again this year, leading up to the Great North American eclipse on April 8th, 2024.

It’s often repeated (usually around the time leading up to a total solar eclipse) that the syzygy of the Earth, Moon and Sun is special, allowing totality to occur. To be sure, eclipses are extraordinary and spectacular events, and standing in the shadow of the Moon during totality is a spectacle that shouldn’t be missed.

But just how rare are the circumstances we witness on Earth during totality across time and space?

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Views of This Week’s Amazing Hybrid Solar Eclipse

Totality
Totality! Credit: Michael Zeiler, The Great American Eclipse.

Amazing views from Earth and space of this week’s rare hybrid solar eclipse.

This week’s solar eclipse didn’t disappoint, as eclipse chasers flocked to the path Thursday on April 20th, for some amazing views. This was a rare hybrid solar eclipse, with an annular path along one part of the track, and totality along another. Only seven such eclipses occur this century.

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Our Guide to Tuesday’s Total Lunar Eclipse

Eclipse
May 2022's total lunar eclipse. Credit: Filipp Romanov

The November 8th total lunar eclipse spans the Pacific and is the last until 2025.

Set your alarms: if skies cooperate, next Tuesday morning’s lunar eclipse on November 8th is worth getting up for and braving the cold. Not only is this one of the top astronomical events for 2022, but it’s also the last total lunar eclipse for a while…until, in fact, March 14, 2025.

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Our Guide to the Only Total Solar Eclipse of 2021

During this weekend’s total solar eclipse, the shadow of the Moon graces the Earth one last time for the year.

Saturday’s total solar eclipse literally spans the ends of the Earth.

The final eclipse for 2021 and the only total solar eclipse of the year occurs on Saturday, December 4th, as the Moon’s shadow sweeps across a remote segment of the Antarctic continent.

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Amazing Views of Wednesday Morning’s Total Lunar Eclipse

total lunar eclipse

The Moon turned a ruddy hue during this morning’s total lunar eclipse, in one of the top astronomical events of the year.

What a celestial show. Depending on your time zone, you either got up early, stayed up late, or pulled an all-niter last night, all in hopes of catching today’s total lunar eclipse. This event favored the Pacific region, with western North American observers catching the eclipse at sunrise/moonset, and Australia, new Zealand and eastern Asia seeing totality transpiring at moonrise/sunset.

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Our Guide to This Month’s Total Solar Eclipse Over South America

2020 closes out with the final total solar eclipse of the decade, as totality crosses the southern tip of South America on December 14th.

Did you happen to catch last Monday’s slight penumbral lunar eclipse? Sure, a penumbral may be the most anti-climatic of all of the varieties of eclipses… but this event also sets us up for the ultimate in astronomical events, as a total solar eclipse crosses South America on December 14th, 2020.

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Our Complete Guide to the July 2019 Total Solar Eclipse

This image combines many exposures of different durations taken to reveal aspects of the widely-viewed total solar eclipse of 21 August 2017, which was visible from the United States. In the centre the faint circle of the Moon can be seen, with its surface features dimly illuminated in light reflected from the Earth. Around the edge red prominences can be seen and further out the white glow of the corona is sculpted by the Sun's magnetic field.
This image combines many exposures of different durations taken to reveal aspects of the widely-viewed total solar eclipse of 21 August 2017, from the Moon, to the solar corona. Image credit: ESO/P. Horalek/Solar Winds Sherpas Project.

You couldn’t order up a geekier solar eclipse from the cosmos. Next Tuesday on July 2nd, the second of three eclipse seasons begins for 2019, with the only total solar eclipse of the year spanning the southern tip of South America, including the nations of Chile and Argentina. As an extra-special part of the spectacle, however, the path of totality for the eclipse passes right over the La Silla observatory complex in the Atacama Desert.

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