Hoping to See the Total Solar Eclipse Next Week? Here’s What to Know.

There will be a total solar eclipse in the United States on April 8, 2024. Here’s everything you should know if you’re traveling to see it, including the latest cloud coverage and eclipse weather forecast.

Total solar eclipse above a mountain range

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun in complete alignment.

Photo by Shutterstock

On April 8, 2024, parts of the United States will briefly experience night during the middle of the day as the sun, Earth, and moon will come into complete alignment, causing a total solar eclipse.

The event will plunge such cities as Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas in Texas; Little Rock, Arkansas; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cleveland, Ohio; and Buffalo and Rochester in New York into darkness for up to four minutes and 27 seconds. Astro tourists are expected to travel from across the country—and the world—to see the skyward spectacle.

The most recent eclipse, on October 14, 2023, was an annular partial solar eclipse. Both total solar eclipses and annular partial solar eclipse occur when the moon moves between Earth and the sun. However, in the case of an annular partial eclipse, the moon is further away from Earth and doesn’t completely obscure the sun. The 2024 solar eclipse, however, is generating more excitement because the entire sun will be obscured.

If you don’t get to see this one, the next total solar eclipse will occur in the United States 20 years from now, on August 23, 2044, when the path of totality will cross over parts of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning on traveling to see the 2024 solar eclipse. (If you’ve procrastinated planning a trip to see the eclipse, read our handy guide for last-minute total solar eclipse travel.)

What time is the 2024 total solar eclipse?

The next solar eclipse viewable from the United States will happen on April 8, 2024. Totality will begin at 1:40 p.m. Central Time in Dallas, Texas; and in Caribou, Maine, totality will begin at 3:32 p.m. Eastern Time, according to NASA, which provides a timetable for total solar eclipse viewing times across the path of totality.

Where will the 2024 solar eclipse be visible?

According to NASA, the trail of the eclipse will enter the United States in Texas, near San Antonio, and will follow a northeastern path across the state before continuing into parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Communities closer to the path’s center, such as Cleveland and Buffalo, will see the longest eclipse (roughly four minutes long). In contrast, cities on the edge, like Austin and Burlington, will see a shorter eclipse (under two minutes).

A map of the annular and solar eclipses in the USA

A map showing the annular and solar eclipses

Courtesy of NASA

Outside the United States, the eclipse will be visible in Mexico, starting on the Pacific Coast near Mazatlan, before crossing the central desert areas of Durango and Coahuila and then reaching the Texas border. Beyond Maine, the path of totality will extend into Canada, passing through parts of Ontario and Newfoundland.

There are no bad places within the path of totality to see the solar eclipse, though you’ll want to make sure you’re somewhere with an unobstructed view of the sky. For an even more memorable experience, travelers might consider cities like Austin and Little Rock that are hosting events, often in stadiums or open fields.

Those who really want to nerd out on the science behind the otherworldly event might consider traveling to one of NASA’s three partner cities for the event: Kerrville, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Cleveland, Ohio. There, NASA has planned group viewing areas, and NASA experts will be on-site to “engage with the public and share the ways NASA studies the sun and uses that information to understand its impact on Earth, throughout our solar system, and beyond,” according to a statement.

Alternatively, for those looking for a quieter experience, the top of a hill or mountain provides an interesting 360-degree spectacle. Word of warning, though: Wild animals can react to the eclipse in surprising ways (those that are nocturnal, in particular, can get confused) so bear that in mind before choosing a spot in the wilderness.

Eclipse cloud coverage forecast

The forecast appears somewhat cloudy for some parts of the country during the 2024 total solar eclipse.

Courtesy of the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center

2024 solar eclipse weather forecast

The real wild card for seeing the 2024 solar eclipse is the weather. If it’s cloudy (which is not totally unlikely in April), the eclipse won’t be visible. Some forecasts have begun to emerge for April 8.

“Clear skies in the path of totality are most likely in northern New England and upstate New York, and have become more likely from southern Missouri into Central Indiana,” according to the the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center.

Cloud cover within the path of totality is “most likely from Texas through southern Arkansas, as well as for portions of the Ohio Valley, including Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania,” the Weather Prediction Center reports.

According to the Weather Channel, parts of southern and central United States within the path of totality may see some clouds and rain on April 8.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center “is forecasting a chance of severe storms in north-central Texas, southern Oklahoma, southwest Arkansas, and northwest Louisiana, but that threat likely won’t develop until after the eclipse is over,” the Weather Channel reports.

The weather forecasting site predicts that the East Coast could see some of the best weather in the country during the eclipse.

The forecasts could, of course, still change and shift somewhat in the coming days.

How will the 2024 total solar eclipse compare to the 2017 total solar eclipse?

The 2024 total solar eclipse will be longer and visible to more people than the 2017 eclipse, the last time the United States experienced a total solar eclipse. In 2017, the moon’s direct shadow (or umbra), from under which you can see the eclipse, was 70 miles wide. In 2024, it will be 120 miles wide.

And because the shadow is so much wider (a symptom of the moon being closer to Earth this time), the duration will be longer, at four minutes and 27 seconds at its peak, as opposed to just two minutes and 41 seconds in 2017.

Because the path of totality is wider, more people live in its path: 32 million people, compared to 12 million in 2017. The wider path of totality might make finding a spot to witness the celestial show a little easier.

This article originally appeared online in April 2023; it was most recently updated on April 3, 2024, to include current information.

Bailey Berg is a freelance travel writer and editor, who covers breaking news, trends, tips, transportation, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. She was formerly the associate travel news editor at Afar. Her work can also be found in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Points Guy, Atlas Obscura, Vice, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Lonely Planet, and beyond.
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