3-year wait begins for total solar eclipse expected to overshadow 2017 event in W. Pa.

Jeff Himler, Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.
·2 min read

Apr. 8—The next total solar eclipse that will cross much of the United States is three years away, on April 8, 2024. For Western Pennsylvania residents, it promises to, indeed, eclipse the similar 2017 event that saw people throughout the area grab solar glasses and gaze skyward.

According to NASA, the path of totality in 2024 will pass directly over the northwestern corner of Pennsylvania, within relatively easy driving distance of the Pittsburgh area. The 2017 eclipse, while offering a compelling show in the state, took a direct path that veered well to the south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

The path of the upcoming eclipse is set to sweep northeast, from Texas to Maine. According to the website eclipse24.org, it is expected to hit the the Ohio-Pennsylvania border about 3:15 p.m. and head out of the state, over Lake Erie, about five minutes later.

Bloggers at NationalEclipse.com point out that trajectory will place the path of totality over or within the neighborhood of many more major cities than were in the 2017 totality zone, which crossed west to east roughly from Oregon to South Carolina. Cities that will be in the shadow of the 2024 eclipse include San Antonio; Austin, Texas; Dallas; Indianapolis; Cleveland; and Buffalo, N.Y.

The event three years hence also will be the longest total solar eclipse in America in more than 200 years, according to the blog.

The duration of totality, or the length of time when the sun is totally eclipsed by the moon, is expected to be about 3 minutes and 28 seconds from an ideal vantage point in Maine, almost a minute longer than anywhere the 2017 eclipse was visible.

You'll have to visit Mexico to see the 2024 eclipse in its longest duration: 4 minutes and 28 seconds.

There is one potential snag that might mar viewing the 2024 event: unpredictable early-April weather that could include cold temperatures and snow.

Summer weather on Aug. 21, 2017, was well-suited for many outdoor eclipse-viewing parties that were held in the region. Area residents flocked to locations including Saint Vincent College, Delmont's Newhouse Park, libraries in Latrobe and Rostraver, and the Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

If you miss the heavenly spectacular in 2024, you'll have to wait until 2045 to see the next total eclipse in the United States, when the path will cross the country from northern California to south Florida.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, jhimler@triblive.com or via Twitter .