Solar Eclipses Past and Future

| July 10, 2017 @ 11:55 pm

6 weeks from today, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the continental United States.

You’ve probably see headlines claiming this is a first in 99 years, which is true, if you are talking about coast to coat eclipses.

These headlines refer to the eclipse on June 8 of 1918 which passed trough Washington State, sweeping down through Mobile and the Florida Panhandle before leaving US soil over what would become the Kennedy Space Center

20th Century Total Solar Eclipse in North America

Since then, the Great Lakes and New York metro areas saw a total solar eclipse in 1925, Idaho and Montana in 1945., the upper Midwest saw one in 1954, coastal Georgia and the Carolinas may remember the total solar include on March 7, 1970. I personally recall the Feb eclipse of 1979 where totality was visible in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.

If you miss this year’s, they’ll be others that will pass through North America, actually several visible from Southern Alabama, but you’ll be waiting a bit. On Apr 8, 2024, an eclipse will pass through Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio and New York, Vermont and Maine. In fact, there’s a point south of Carbondale Illinois that the paths of the 2017 and 2024 eclipses intersect.
Another total solar eclipse on Aug 12, 2045, will be visible in Tuscaloosa and Montgomery then on to the Florida panhandle, Tampa, Orlando and the space coast before exiting out over Miami and Ft Lauderdale. The 2045 eclipse path is about 140 miles wide, about twice that of the 2017 one.

2052 brings a total solar eclipse which comes ashore along the Alabama gulf shores and exit near Charleston, SC. not far from the spot where the 2017 eclipse leaves the US.

Perhaps our grandkids will enjoy the total eclipse in 2078 as it passes through New Orleans, Mobile, Montgomery (again), through central North Carolina before exiting over the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Virginia Beach. Book your beach house rental today. Kitty Hawk and the spot where the Wright Brothers took their first flight lies in the path of totality.

For more information on the history and future of eclipses in your area, check out the World Atlas of Solar Eclipse Paths on NASA’s eclipse website at eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov.

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About the Author ()

Tony Rice is a Solar System Ambassador for NASA/JPL and the voice and brains behinds the weekly Astronomy Report on the WeatherBrains podcast. He grew up in Southern California with Space Shuttle landings and was hooked. He brings weather and space together to communicate the excitement of space exploration and promote a greater appreciation for Earth sciences.

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