Where will the April 2024 total solar eclipse be visible from? (Image Credit: Space.com)
Where will you be on Monday, April 8, 2024? On that day a total solar eclipse will be visible from North America and location is everything.
The entire continent will see a partial solar eclipse, with the all-important path of totality heading from northwest Mexico through the U.S. to southeastern Canada. That path will be 115 miles (183 kilometers) wide, on average, and only within it will it be possible to experience darkness in the day and glimpse the sun’s corona for up to 4 minutes 28 seconds.
This path of totality is the moon‘s umbra, where the moon appears to block the sun’s disk completely. The light levels will crash in the moments before totality to create an eery twilight when the temperature will have fallen dramatically. Outside of the path of totality, the moon’s penumbra — its fuzzier outer shadow — will create a partial solar eclipse, which will be visible across North, Central and South America.
REMEMBER to NEVER look at the sun directly. To safely view this solar eclipse you must use solar filters at all times. Only during the exact moment of totality, when the moon completely obscures the sun can you look with the naked eye. At all other times, precautions need to be taken. Observers will need to wear solar eclipse glasses, and cameras, telescopes and binoculars must have solar filters placed in front of their lenses.
For this rare event — not to be repeated across the continent until 2045 — a partial solar eclipse just won’t do. You must get to the path of totality.
How to make a plan for the total solar eclipse
Typically the best way to plan an eclipse trip is to research where the best climate is for clear skies. In April in North America that’s not particularly easy, with spring often containing a mix of wintry weather and storms as well as clear skies. The best advice is to stay mobile and have a Plan B if your intended location is predicted to have cloud — you’ll know from local weather forecasts three days before.
All you need to know is the exact location of the path of totality on April 8, 2024. As well as Mexico, parts of 15 U.S. states from Texas through Maine will see totality, as will five provinces of Canada. Here’s where you need to be on the day of the eclipse to see the most of what this event has to offer.
1. Northern Mexico
States: Sinaloa, Nayarit, Durango, Chihuahua and Coahuila
Maximum duration of totality: 4 mins 28 secs (Nazas, Durango)
After passing over some remote islands off the coast of Mexico, the moon’s 124-mile-wide (199 kilometers) shadow will reach North America at Mazatlán at 11:07 a.m. MST with the eclipse 69º above the southeastern horizon. The point of greatest eclipse across the entire eclipse path (4 minutes 28 seconds of totality) will occur from the tiny village of Nazas on the high, arid Mexican Plateau. Nearby big cities Durango and Torreón will be key locations for eclipse-chasers, as will Monclova and Monterey in northeast Mexico, the latter about four hours drive from the path of totality.
2. South Central U.S
States: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky
Maximum duration of totality: 4 mins 26 secs (Radar Base, Texas)
The path of totality will enter the U.S. at 1:27 p.m. CDT while the path of totality is 120 miles (195 kilometers) wide and the sun is at 68º above the horizon. With a population of almost 30 million, the path of totality hits the big time when it arrives in Texas. What’s more, the path crosses northern San Antonio (population 1.4 million), Austin (965,000), Dallas (1.3 million) and Fort Worth (935,000). However, it’s to the state’s Hill Country that many eclipse-chasers will head to, with many outdoor events planned. Expect a host of rural RV and camping events in rural Oklahoma and Arkansas. Only a tiny, remote part of Tennessee is in the path of totality.
3. Midwest U.S
States: Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan
Maximum duration of totality: 4 mins 13 secs (Fourche Creek Conservation Area, Missouri)
The path of totality will enter the Midwest at the Arkansas-Missouri border at 1:53 p.m. CDT while the path of totality is 116 miles wide (187 kilometers) and the sun is 59º above the horizon. It will cross an identical region also visited by the path of totality on Aug. 21, 2017, during the last total solar eclipse in the U.S. with locations such as Cape Girardeau and Carbondale enjoying a second centerline totality in just six years, seven months and 18 days. So will Paducah in Kentucky, though the path of totality barely enters the Bluegrass State. The biggest draws in the Midwest are Indianapolis (population 882,000) and Cleveland (368,000), both of which are close to the centerline.
4. Northeastern U.S.
States: Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine
Maximum duration of totality: 3 mins 46 secs (The Rock on Lake Erie, Pennsylvania)
As it enters the Northeastern U.S. at the Ohio-Pennsylvania border at 3:15 pm EDT the path of totality is 111 miles wide (179 kilometers) and the sun is 48º above the horizon. The closest region of the path of totality to those living in Washington, Philadelphia and New York City is that stretching along Lake Erie in Pennsylvania and New York. The former has Presque Isle State Park while the latter has Buffalo (population 276,000), Rochester (210,000) and Syracuse (146,000). With upwards of 50 million people in this region it will pay to book ahead and stay the night after the eclipse.
Provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland
Maximum duration of totality: 3 minutes 45 seconds, Port Abino Lighthouse, Ontario
Entering Ontario at Peelee Island in Lake Erie at 3:12 EDT while the path of totality is 112 miles wide (181 kilometers) and the sun is 49º above the horizon, this will be Canada’s first total solar eclipse since February 26, 1979. After being visible on the north shore of Lake Erie, totality will just miss Toronto, but occur over Hamilton and Niagara Falls then Lake Ontario to Montreal, Québec before it closes back in into the U.S, at Maine then into Atlantic Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, where the shadow departs at 5:16 p.m. NDT.
For planning trips to see solar eclipses, the interactive Google Maps on Xavier Jubier’s eclipse website is invaluable (and the source for the timings in this article), as are the simulations for the 2023 and 2024 solar eclipses on Eclipse 2024 and the beautiful eclipse maps on GreatAmericanEclipse.com. The latter sells the Field Guide to the 2023 and 2024 Solar Eclipses, which is invaluable for planning trips to the path of totality. Climate and weather predictions by meteorologist Jay Anderson on Eclipsophile.com are equally instructive as are ex-NASA eclipse calculator Fred Espenak’s Eclipse Wise and Mr. Eclipse.