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Eclipses are perhaps the most spectacular celestial events of all.
During an hours-long lunar eclipse the full Moon can turn a reddish-copper color for a few hours, while solar eclipses—which can last for just a few minutes—often leave onlookers scarred for life … in a good way!
In fact, if you’ve ever witnessed the brief totality of a total solar eclipse—when the world around you turns into twilight and you see the Sun’s bright white corona for a few seconds—you’ll know why there are thousands of dedicated eclipse-chasers who try to see as many as they can.
Trouble is, solar and lunar eclipses don’t come around very often.
However, there are now a few coming up fast.
In 2020 there are six eclipses; four lunar eclipses and two solar eclipses. We’re almost through with them, having already had lunar eclipses on:
There was also a solar eclipse—a rare kind called an annular or “ring of fire” eclipse:
So what’s left in 2020? One lunar eclipse—and the best one of the year for North Americans—and a rare total solar eclipse, the best eclipse of 2020, which will be seen only from South America.
Sadly, COVID-19 is playing havoc with that one.
Here’s everything you need to know about the next solar and lunar eclipses coming up soon, and the next eclipses of all kinds visible from North America.
When is the next lunar eclipse?
Date: Monday, November 30, 2020
Viewable from: North and South America, Australia and East Asia
2020’s fourth and final penumbral lunar eclipse will see 83% of the full “Frosty Moon” pass into Earth’s outer shadow, which is called the penumbra. It’s the deepest such eclipse of the year, but during the event observers will see little more than the full Moon lose its brightness for a few hours.
That said, it’s an excellent time to photograph the full Moon—there’s normally way too much glare to do that easily.
Still, what you really want to see is a total lunar eclipse—and North Americans won’t have to wait long.
When is the next total lunar eclipse?
Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Viewable from: Australia, parts of the western U.S., western South America and Southeast Asia
Here comes the first “blood Moon” for sometime for North America, though the fun will be brief. In fact, the Moon will move into Earth’s dark central umbral shadow for a mere 15 minutes, so the effect will probably be relatively slight.
Visible in the early hours in the western states of North America, this total lunar eclipse is also a supermoon, hence the “Super Flower Blood Moon” moniker.
Meanwhile, the east coast of the U.S. will have to wait until May 15, 2022 for a view of a “blood Moon” total lunar eclipse.
When is the next solar eclipse?
Date: Monday, December 14, 2020
Viewable from: Southern Chile and Argentina
The next solar eclipse—a total solar eclipse—will take place on December 14, 2020 in southern Chile and Argentina.
Will anyone see it? Destined to be largely viewed by domestic eclipse-chasers (though there should be plenty of them given that the most recent total solar eclipse also crossed the same two countries), this rare event will see the Sun blocked by the Moon for 2 minutes and 9 seconds.
It will all happen close to midday from a path of totality that stretches through the Chilean Lake District at Pucón and Villarrica and into the more remote Patagonia region of western Argentina.
Most of South America will see a big partial solar eclipse.
When is the next solar eclipse in North America?
Date: Thursday, June 10, 2021
Viewable from: Greenland, Canada and Russia
Although the U.S. and Canada will see a huge partial solar eclipse, the “ring of fire” of this annular solar eclipse will be reserved only for those who make the journey to—or possibly take a scenic flight over—Polar Bear Provincial Park on Thunder Bay in far north Ontario, Canada.
Only from there will a “ring of fire” lasting 3 minutes and 33 seconds be visible just after sunrise. What a sight!
The following annular solar eclipse is on Saturday, October 14, 2023 and will see a similar spectacle visible from many U.S. national parks in the west and southwest including Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, Capital Reef National Park, Utah and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado—and for over five minutes.
When is the next total solar eclipse in North America?
Date: Monday, April 8, 2024
Viewable from: Mexico, U.S. and Canada
Although there are plenty of total solar eclipses coming up soon—including perhaps the ultimate 6-minute totality in 2027—a “Great North American Eclipse” is now only a few years away.
A four-minute totality—twice what was possible during the “Great American Eclipse” of August 21, 2017—will be visible from within a 100-mile wide path of totality stretching from Mazatlán in Mexico to Atlantic Canada via Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, and in Canada, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.
This is the big one, and perhaps 50 million people will witness totality.
Now just three-and-a-half years away, the “Great North American Eclipse” truly is going to be the biggest celestial event on the continent until August 12, 2045.
Disclaimer: I am editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.