Amateur astronomers, get out your datebooks.
The next total solar eclipse visible from the U.S. will occur just shy of one year from now on April 8, 2024.
For just a few minutes, the moon will pass directly in front of the afternoon sun and cover it up, creating the unusual celestial phenomenon of the total solar eclipse.
It will be the last time a total solar eclipse will cross the U.S. for more than 20 years, NASA said.
Viewers located in a strip of the mainland U.S. stretching from Texas to Maine — as well as parts of Mexico and Canada — will be able to see what’s known as the path of totality. That’s when the moon completely obscures the sun.
Others watching from nearby should be able to see a partial solar eclipse, when the sun will look like it’s had a bite taken out of it.
For those stargazing from the U.S., the event will occur somewhere between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., depending on your location and time zone.
Safety is paramount for those preparing to watch the celestial show. Experts say that, aside from the brief time the moon completely covers up the sun during a total solar eclipse, it’s not safe to look directly at a total or partial eclipse with the naked eye. NASA says using specialized eye protection or alternate methods, such as a pinhole projector or your phone, is a must.
Though other eclipses occur more regularly, the last time a total solar eclipse crossed North America was on August 21, 2017.
In the U.S., the eclipse captured the attention of the nation, with droves of sky-watchers gathering in public spaces and taking road trips for a better view of the spectacle.
But you don’t need to wait until next year to see an eclipse.
According to NASA, another solar eclipse will be visible from the U.S. on Oct. 14, 2023. It will be what’s called an annular solar eclipse, when the moon is deep in its orbit and appears (from the perspective of those of us on Earth) too small to fully cover up the sun, instead creating a “ring of fire” effect.
The annular eclipse will be visible in parts of the U.S., Mexico and other countries in Central and South America. Viewers in parts of all 50 U.S. states will be able to catch a partial solar eclipse.