The Path of Totality
The 2024 total solar eclipse first touches Earth in the Pacific Ocean at a point just north of Penrhyn Atoll in the Cook Islands. The Moon’s shadow races across the ocean, finally making continental landfall on a stretch of beach just south of Mazatlán, Mexico. Beachgoers will have their suntanning session interrupted by 4 minutes 25 seconds of totality as the 125-mile-wide (200 kilometer) lunar shadow passes overhead.
Totality then speeds northeast across Mexico, and 20 minutes after first touching land, it crosses the border between Mexico and the United States. The path of totality continues moving northeast, passing through 15 states, though only small portions of Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Michigan will see a total eclipse. Major portions of Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine will experience all aspects of a total eclipse of the Sun. It takes the lunar shadow only 65 minutes to cross from the Mexico/Texas border to the Maine/Canada border. During this time, the length of totality decreases from 4 minutes 27 seconds in southwest Texas to 3 minutes 21 seconds in northeast Maine.
During the northern part of its travels, the path of totality passes simultaneously over parts of the US and Canada. The Moon’s shadow covers all of Lake Erie and most of Lake Ontario, so observers in southern Ontario, northeastern Ohio, and northwestern New York state will all see up to 3 minutes of totality, depending on their viewing location. The path then slices through southern Quebec, central New Brunswick, the western half Prince Edward Island, and central Newfoundland before heading out into the Atlantic Ocean. Totality departs the continent from the tiny hamlet of Maberly, Newfoundland, where the Sun is totally eclipsed for 2 minutes 54 seconds. In all, it takes the Moon’s shadow a mere 95 minutes to cross the Americas from sea to sea.
As it happens, there are several large cities along the path of totality, where millions can enjoy the view (weather permitting) without ever leaving home. These cities include Mazatlán (Mexico), San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Montreal (Canada). In some cases, only part of the city is completely enveloped by the lunar shadow, so stay-at-home eclipse watchers need to carefully check their viewing location against a detailed map showing the track of totality.
If you’re looking for a 2024 solar eclipse map, one of the best can be found at Xavier Jubier’s website. His zoomable, interactive maps show solar eclipse paths across Earth’s surface for past and future totalities.