Thursday, June 22, 2017

If You Miss Next Month's Eclipse...

In just one more month, the city of Nashville will host part of the Great American Eclipse. I can already feel the excitement building, along with the email inquiries about housing in the area. If you're planning to drive somewhere to view the eclipse, book your hotel early and drive to your viewing destination well in advance. The traffic leading up to the eclipse is going to look like a hurricane evacuation in reverse.

But what if you miss the eclipse? Suppose it's overcast that day, or your car breaks down on the way? No need to despair -- there's another eclipse across the middle of the US only seven years later, in April of 2024.

There's a map of the 2024 eclipse at the NASA website. As you can see, the eclipse path in 2024 will be nearly perpendicular to the direction of next month's eclipse -- the 2024 eclipse runs right between Nashville and St. Louis, both of which will be in totality next month. In 2024, the eclipse will pass through Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Buffalo instead. But a few lucky people in southern Illinois will be able to see both eclipses.

Eclipses come in sequences determined by the celestial mechanics of the Sun and Moon, but the subject is too complicated to explain here (i.e., I don't understand it myself).

1 comment:

Kathy said...

I wish you clear skies.

I was lucky to be on the path of the 1991 total eclipse, which coincided with the rainy season in Mexico City. Fortunately it was only partly cloudy when the show started, and totality happened within a break in the clouds.

Did you know that with a good filter you can see the process of the Moon covering the Sun's disk reflected off a myriad street puddles? It was like watching a dozen eclipses at once.

I've seen many partial and annular eclipses over the years. Totality, though, it's a different and unique experience. It's a different state of time of day. It's not just unlike night or day, it's also unlike dawn or dusk, or anything else you've experienced.