Great American Eclipse Part 2: One year to go

The moment the moon's shadow totally eclipsed the sun. (photo/Tyler Penland)

Exactly one year from today, a phenomenon that came directly over Habersham County back in 2017 will once again come to the US. This time the total solar eclipse won’t come over our heads, but that just means it’s time to start making plans.

However, I want to first note that between now and then there will be another significant eclipse in the country. On October 14 of this year, an annular solar eclipse will move from the west coast into South Texas.

An annular eclipse occurs when the moon moves in front of the sun but is too far away from Earth to cover it up completely. This results in a “ring of fire.” These dramatic eclipses require either eclipse glasses or a solar filter on a telescope to view, but they are quite spectacular. Locally, the sun will max out at around 50% covered. This will definitely be worth picking up a pair of eclipse glasses for, particularly since you’ll get to use them again soon after. And no, if you still have some from 2017, I strongly recommend not using them, as they do expire.

The “big” show will come just six months later, on April 8, 2024. The path of totality, where the sun is completely covered, will run from South Texas through the northeast. The two eclipses will actually cross paths over San Antonio, so anyone who happens to live in that little area will get to see both from their backyard in just six months which is quite cool.

During the August 2017 eclipse that was visible from Habersham, totality lasted a little under 90 seconds. This time the area with maximum totality will see just shy of 4.5 minutes of spectacular darkness. As a bonus, this eclipse will be going on mid-afternoon when the sun is high in the sky, leading to fewer issues with clouds in any given location. Of course, it is far too early to make any predictions, Northeast Texas seems like a decent bet based on climatology. Of course, we’ll have to be much closer to get any more specific than that.

A compilation of the August 21, 2017, eclipse from the campus of Tallulah Falls School. (Brian A. Boyd/Tallulah, Falls School)

Over North Georgia, this eclipse will cover up about 80-85% of the sun, depending on your location. While definitely not the event a total is, it is still quite the sight to see and will be enough for some noticeable dimming of daylight for a while.

These eclipses will be here before you know it, so start making plans now to get out west for both of these events. I plan to be on-site for Now Habersham, covering them for you.

Click here for more information on the total eclipse from NASA’s eclipse page.


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