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Two major solar eclipses are coming to North America! Read on for a variety of ways to experience—and participate in—this incredible astronomical event.
On Saturday, October 14, 2023, an annular ("ring of fire") eclipse sweeps from Oregon to Texas in a 125-mile-wide path that continues to the Yucatán peninsula and northern South America.
Six months later, on Monday, April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse darkens a 115-mile-wide swath from Mexico to Eastern Canada, traversing the US from Texas to Maine in the process. In both cases, virtually all of North America will have at least a partial solar eclipse.
Below are some ways you can observe the eclipses at home and at the Academy.
Annular solar eclipse: October 14, 2023
An annular solar eclipse, in which the Moon passes precisely between Earth and the Sun. Unlike during a total eclipse, however, the Moon is slightly farther away from Earth, and its smaller apparent image doesn't completely cover the Sun. Instead, it leaves a ring of the solar disk (the annulus) visible around it, which is bright enough to wash the faint corona from view.
As seen from San Francisco, the partial eclipse is an early morning event, beginning at 8:05 am Pacific, with maximum at 9:19 am, when the Moon crosses 85% of the Sun’s diameter. The Moon then moves off the solar disk, and the eclipse ends at 10:42 am.
Image credit: Rick Fienberg / Sky & Telescope
Viewing at the Academy
Please note: Museum admission is required for eclipse events at the Academy.
- Before the eclipse, join planetarium presenters as we explore what solar eclipses are and what causes them in our new Hohfeld Hall show, "The Sun and Space Weather." View the Daily Calendar for showtimes.
- Beginning at 8 am on October 14, members are invited to join us before the museum opens to safely view the partial annular eclipse in the East Garden with Academy staff and volunteer experts. Space is limited, RSVP required. (Update: Reservations Full)
- When the museum opens, we’ll also feature livestreams of the eclipse in our Naturalist Center and Science Today station.
Observing at home
- To determine the precise start time, end time, and duration of annularity for your exact location on eclipse day, use this interactive eclipse map developed by timeanddate.com.
- Wherever you go, DIY! Learn how to make your own eclipse viewer with just a couple of pieces of paper.
- Use this sample activity (available in English and Spanish) to contribute to the Eclipse Soundscapes community science project that focuses on collecting data before, during, and after the eclipse.
Image credit: Courtesy Mark Margolis / Rainbow Symphony
Total solar eclipse: April 8, 2024
A total solar eclipse, in which the new Moon will slip between Earth and the Sun, blocking the Sun entirely from view and briefly allowing its faint corona to become visible.
As seen from San Francisco, the partial eclipse is a morning event, beginning at 10:15 am Pacific, with maximum at 11:13 am, when the Moon crosses 34% of the Sun’s diameter. The Moon moves off the solar disk, and the eclipse ends at 12:15 pm.
Check the local time to ensure you don’t miss the total phase of the solar eclipse, which only lasts about four minutes. To determine the precise start time, end time, and duration of totality for your exact location on eclipse day, use this interactive eclipse map developed by timeanddate.com.
More information about viewing at the Academy is coming soon.
Image credit: Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International