An Eclipse is a stunning sight. Sparing the technical jargon, it’s the point where either a planet or a moon aligns in such a way that it temporarily blocks light from the sun. There are different types of eclipses of varying rarities depending on what blocks the sun, and some of which may only be experienced a handful of times in our lifetime.
One of the more frequent eclipses that we’ll see are lunar eclipses, where our own planet blocks the light from reflecting off the moon. If you are in the portion of the globe where it is night when this occurs, you’ll see the moon in either a full or partial eclipse status; which changes the color from a pale gray to a rusty red.
Solar eclipses are far rarer, and occur when the moon moves in front of the sun during daytime and casts a huge shadow. The sky will temporarily go dark, and the temperature will drop slightly as a result of the sun’s heat being withdrawn for a few moments.
So why aren’t we always experiencing eclipses? Well, the Earth is, but of course, the Earth is a big place. The reason we as individuals will only experience eclipses so rarely is because the eclipses are not necessarily happening on the portion of the planet we’re on.
Now that you know the basics; let’s see the best eclipses going on in North America over the next six years.
10th – 11th February 2017
This one is due to be a lunar eclipse. It will be a penumbral eclipse. In layman’s terms, the Earth will be casting a slight shadow on the moon as it drifts temporarily into the umbral cone of the planet. It doesn’t carry the rusty yellow and orange tones a total lunar eclipse does, so only expect to see the moon get slightly dimmer and harder to see in the night sky during the eclipse.
21st August 2017
Here’s the big one. A total solar eclipse will be coming for those in North America this coming Summer. If you’ve never seen one before here’s your chance to see this amazing natural phenomenon in action. If you want to get a good look at the Eclipse, I suggest specialty glasses to avoid eye damage when gazing up at it.
31st January 2018
Just over six months later, you’ll be treated to a total lunar eclipse at the very tail end of January next year. You’ll get to see the moon with that rusty orange color described earlier in this article. Why is it this color, exactly? The simple reason is that the Earth absorbs the other colors in the light spectrum as it bends around the Earth, and the moon is left with the remaining colors. It’s the very same reason why sunsets are a similar color.
27th – 28th July 2018
If you missed the lunar eclipse earlier in 2018, you’ve got a second chance coming up in July. However, the eclipse will only be apparent if you are in the Southern half of North America. I’m not sure exactly which State you’ll have to be in to see the eclipse, but you can probably find that information closer to the actual eclipse date.
11th August 2018
Likewise in August you’ll have a chance to see a partial solar eclipse, but you have to be in the northern areas of North America. Again, I’m not sure where the geographical boundaries begin or end here, but you should be in for a relatively good chance if you live near Canada.
20th – 21st January 2019
Finally, we have a second chance to see a full lunar eclipse in North America during late January in 2019. If you missed it the first time around, now might be a good idea to stay up late and watch it happen.