April 17, 2024

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April's total solar eclipse will last longer than the 2017 eclipse

April's total solar eclipse will last longer than the 2017 eclipse

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when Total solar eclipse It will create a spectacle in the skies of Mexico and North America on April 8, and it will be the first time such an event has occurred in this part of the world in nearly seven years – and the last time it will happen until 2044.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, completely blocking the face of the sun. But these celestial events are not all exactly the same.

While the April eclipse has a similar path It happened on August 21, 2017despite moving in the opposite direction and covering a larger area, there are quite a few differences between the two One 2024 event to expectAccording to NASA. One of the main factors that set this year's event apart is who will be able to see it.

NASA estimates 215 million adults across the United States witnessed the 2017 eclipse live or virtually.

“This year’s total solar eclipse will be at least partially visible to everyone in the contiguous United States, making it the most visible eclipse this nation has seen in this generation,” Nicola Fox, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a report. statement.

More people will be able to see the 2024 eclipse because the path of the total eclipse, or the locations where people will see the moon's shadow completely covering the sun, will be wider. The Moon's distance from Earth varies as it orbits our planet, and during the 2017 total solar eclipse, the Moon was farthest from Earth and caused the total eclipse area to narrow, extending from about 62 to 71 miles (100 to 114 kilometers). wide.

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But the moon will be closer to our planet during this year's event, so the path its shadow will follow over North America is expected to extend about 108 to 122 miles (174 to 196 kilometers).

The path of the 2024 eclipse also passes over major regions and cities that are more densely populated than before. Only 12 million people lived within the 2017 total eclipse zone, while nearly 32 million people live in 2024's path, and 150 million people live within 200 miles (322 kilometers) of it.

Bill Ingels/NASA

This composite image shows a partial solar eclipse developing over Ross Lake in Northern Cascades National Park in Washington on August 21, 2017.

People outside the path of totality will still be able to see a partial solar eclipse, in which the Moon obscures only part of the Sun's face. 99% of those living across the United States, including parts of Hawaii and Alaska, will be able to see at least a partial solar eclipse without having to travel.

The April eclipse will also have a longer period of totality than in 2017 due to the Moon's proximity to Earth. Totality is one of the shortest phases of the eclipse, and its duration depends on the viewing location. Observers closest to the center of the track will see the longest total, and the length of that window decreases near the edge of the track.

In 2017, skygazers witnessed the longest total eclipse lasting 2 minutes and 42 seconds near Carbondale, Illinois.

This year, an area about 25 minutes northwest of Torreon, Mexico, will see the longest total at four minutes and 28 seconds, but people across Texas and as far north as Economy, Indiana, will see a total lasting longer than four minutes. When the eclipse crosses into Canada, viewers can still expect to see totality for 3 minutes and 21 seconds.

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The longest period of total eclipse in modern history was seven minutes and eight seconds, and it occurred in the western Philippines on June 20, 1955, according to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”. Guinness Book of World Records.

Do you want to know what you will see during the eclipse? Use our Interactive map To determine where you will be in the path. And don't forget that Get a pair of eclipse glasses To watch the event safely.

While the eclipse is a treat for sky watchers, the event also provides scientists with an opportunity to study the sun in unique ways. The April eclipse will allow scientists to… A special glimpse of the sun During one of its most active periods, called solar maximum.

The Sun goes through a regular 11-year cycle of waxing and waning activity associated with when the star's magnetic field flips. The 2017 eclipse occurred as the Sun approached solar minimum, when the star was experiencing less activity.

The experts have Expect maximum solar energyThe peak activity of the solar magnetic field will occur later this year. Scientists expect that dramatic features resembling bright rings, ribbons and braids will be visible in the Sun's hot outer atmosphere, known as the corona, when the Moon obscures the star's surface from view during the upcoming eclipse. The corona, which is fainter than the surface of the Sun, is easy to see during an eclipse, allowing scientists to study it in more detail.

It is also possible for an explosion of material from the Sun's surface, called a coronal mass ejection, to be visible during the eclipse.

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Many experiments will be conducted on board NASA's WB-57 high-altitude research aircraft During the eclipse to study the corona in hopes of capturing new details about its structure across different wavelengths of light.