ST. LOUIS – We are approximately a year away from experiencing another total solar eclipse. Missouri and Illinois are two of 15 states in the contiguous United States that will be in the path of totality.
In a regular eclipse, the moon crosses between the Earth and the Sun, obscuring part of the planet’s view of its nearest star. In a total solar eclipse, the moon covers the Sun’s disk entirely, leaving only the corona or solar prominences visible.
The 2017 total eclipse moved from Oregon to South Carolina and out to the Atlantic Ocean. At the time, it was the first such eclipse to go coast-to-coast in nearly 100 years.
“A total solar eclipse is the most beautiful sight you will ever see in the sky,” said Michael Zeiler, cartographer for GreatAmericanEclipse.com. “This celestial wonder is guaranteed to be a peak life experience. You will never regret traveling to the path of totality.”
This time, however, that path will be wider and the duration of totality will be longer, so the 31 million people living inside the path and millions of others traveling there will experience the cosmic ballet for a couple extra minutes.
Major cities at or closest to the central line of the 2024 eclipse are Poplar Bluff and Cape Girardeau in Missouri, and Carbondale in Illinois. The closer to the central line, the longer the duration of totality. Eclipse2024.org has a list of all the cities, towns, and villages that will be in the path of totality.
If you missed the 2017 total eclipse, this will be your last chance to see one in Missouri, unless you’re willing to travel. While a total solar eclipse is visible from somewhere on Earth roughly every 18 months, Missouri won’t be in the path of totality again until June 16, 2178.