First of all, there’s a total eclipse of the moon coming up Feb 20. For those of us in the US, it happens at a fairly convenient time — 9:01 to 9:51 PM CST, but if you want to stay up till 3AM on the 21st, you can see it in Britain too.

The real excitement, though, comes in a mere 9 years — there will be a total eclipse of the sun visible from my own home on August 21, 2017. I’ve never seen one before. But wait! That’s not all! Only 7 years later, on April 8, 2024, there will be another total eclipse of the sun, also visible from my own home. Check it out:

This map shows all the total solar eclipses that will be visible from North America from 2000-2050. The paths of totality for the 2017 and 2024 eclipses cross right over SE Missouri and Southern Illinois. I downloaded google earth maps of these, and highlighted the intersection:


It’s actually not that common for the same place to get two total eclipses within 10 years of each other.   At least, not a place where people live; it’s a bit more likely up in northern Canada, for instance.   Now I’m just hoping for clear skies.

7 Responses to “Eclipses!”

  1. K says:

    Pah. The 21st is a Thursday, which means I have to be at work in the morning. No staying up until three for me.

    I seem to remember hearing that Britain doesn’t get another total solar eclipse for years and years. The last one was in 1999 and we were supposed to have 98% of totality in Edinburgh, but it was overcast and the whole thing was… something of a damp squib. Even though the sky was brightish, you couldn’t tell the eclipse was happening. I had a pinhole card, which did indeed project a crescent-shaped dot, but it was so small I wondered whether I was doing it right (not having any previous eclipses to go on).*

    Which is a long and waffly way of saying I hope you get clear skies, too.

    *Apparently we had an annular eclipse in 2003, but I don’t remember it being widely reported, possibly because it was only visible in the far north-west of Scotland. Where there aren’t that many people.

  2. K says:

    I’ve looked it up. The next total eclipse in Britain is in 2090! I’d be 111… maybe I’d better reckon on flying somewhere else if I want to see one. Which I do.

  3. Allen says:

    Yeah, I see you had that one in 1999, but it doesn’t look like you get any solar eclipses even close in the forseeable future. Feel free to come visit in 2017.

    The best I’ve seen was in 1991, when I was in Arizona for the summer, and we had about 2/3 totality. We projected crescents, and the sky got very odd in color, but that was about it.

  4. K says:

    I may take you up on that! 2017 doesn’t sound quite so far away as once it did.

    Obviously by “the next eclipse in Britain” I meant “the next eclipse visible from Britain”. Insular, moi?

    I have been lucky enough to get a good view of two lunar eclipses (one crimson and one coppery), Hale-Bopp, Mars when it came close, and the Perseid meteor shower. So I haven’t done that badly on the sky-gazing front, given that I live on a crowded and light-polluted island.

  5. Allen says:

    That’ll be great. It should give us enough time to clean the house before you get here, too.

  6. Travis says:

    I think these eclipses are rude and inconsiderate. I was driving my car the other day and got behind an eclipse and had to turn on my lights! Very dangerous.

  7. Allen says:

    Why should I have to accommodate celestial objects?

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