When Does the Next Solar Eclipse Happen in North America?

On Tuesday, October 25, a partial solar eclipse was seen across Europe, western Asia and northeast Africa. While the eclipse was not visible in North America, viewers in the U.S. have been promised a string of solar spectacles over the coming years.

Partial lunar eclipse in London
Photo of the partial solar eclipse that occurred on October 25, 2022. The eclipse could be seen across Europe, western Asia and northeast Africa. Tom Kerss FRAS

What Are the Different Types of Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse appears when the moon passes between the sun and Earth.

"A partial solar eclipse occurs when the new moon covers a part of the sun's surface," Tom Kerss, a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in the U.K., told Newsweek. "If the alignment is just right, the new moon can bull's-eye the center of the sun and create a total solar eclipse.

"Since the moon varies in distance from the Earth, and the Earth varies in distance from the sun, on most occasions the moon appears too small to totally eclipse the sun. This results in an annular solar eclipse, sometimes known as a 'ring of fire' eclipse, where the sun's brilliance spills around the edges of the new moon."

The astronomer, author and consultant said that the extent and visibility of the eclipse will depend on your location. "A central eclipse is most spectacular along a narrow path called an eclipse track. Outside of this path, over a much larger area, partial phases can be seen," Kerss said.

phases of an eclipse
Photo of an eclipse progression. During an eclipse, the moon gradually moves in front of the sun. Tom Kerss FRAS

Between two and five solar eclipses can be seen every year, but often can be viewed only from the ocean. "Most of the Earth's surface is covered with water, so many eclipse tracks go unseen across the oceans before or after making landfall," Kerss said.

"Over a long period of time, eclipses will grace every country on Earth, but in the near future, the majority will fall over the Americas and Australia."

When Will the Next Solar Eclipse Be Visible in North America?

The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. is expected on April 8, 2024, and on October 14, 2023, an annular solar eclipse will also be visible.

"Predicting the occurrence of eclipses is an ancient science," Kerss said. "About 2,000 years ago, the Greeks built a bronze computer called the Antikythera mechanism, which could predict events involving the sun and moon, including eclipses.

"Today, with our current knowledge of the orbital properties of both the Earth and the moon, we can calculate the precise circumstances of eclipses all over the globe, thousands of years into the future."

The next total solar eclipse to occur globally is expected on April 20, 2023, but this will be visible only from south and east Asia, Australia, the South Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Antarctica.

annular solar eclipse
Stock image of an annular solar eclipse in Saudi Arabia in 2019. Annular solar eclipses happen when the moon appears too small to totally eclipse the sun. Matthew Starling/Getty

How Can You Safely Watch a Solar Eclipse?

"The best way to safely view a solar eclipse is indirectly, by projecting an image of the sun," Kerss said. "You should never look directly at the sun.

"A simple pinhole projector–a tiny hole poked through a piece of card–will cast an image of the sun in its shadow, revealing the phase of the eclipse," Kerss said. "Even a colander makes a very effective eclipse projector, its many tiny holes each producing an image of the sun."

Solar-eclipse viewing glasses and solar filters are also available, although it is important to ensure that these are authentic and purchased from a credible supplier of astronomy equipment.

Correction: 10/26/22 6:52 a.m. ET: This article was updated to correct the spelling of Tom Kerss's name.