April Brings America’s First Total Eclipse Since 2017: What You Need to Know

Rebecca Jean T.
7 min readMar 8, 2024

In just one month the skies of North America, including Mexico, the United States, and Canada, will be graced with a total solar eclipse. This is the first total eclipse to be visible from America since 2017, leading to increasing excitement as the big day approaches. This astronomical event is gearing up to be one of the largest social gatherings you’ll ever attend, so there are a couple of things to keep in mind as you make plans for April. Keep reading to learn more about eclipses, how to see one, and how to get the most out of this spectacular event.

A string of images showing the phases of a total eclipse with a yellow sun slowly being block, becoming completely blocked in the middle, and then being unblocked.
A composite image of the phases of the 2017 total solar eclipse in the United States. Credit: Bryan Goff on Unsplash.

What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

An eclipse happens when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are in perfect alignment with each other. When the Moon travels directly in front of the Sun, it blocks sunlight and causes a solar eclipse. When the Moon is on the opposite side of Earth and the Earth travels directly in front of the Sun, it casts its shadow on the Moon and causes a lunar eclipse. These events, especially solar eclipses, can only take place because the Moon and Sun both have the same apparent size from our perspective on Earth.

Solar and lunar eclipses are much more common than you think. In fact, “eclipse seasons” occur approximately every six months. But if the Sun and Moon are the same apparent…

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Rebecca Jean T.

Published author on NASA’s Radio Jove project. Researching science topics to deliver to you in bite-sized stories.