Amateur astronomers, rejoice! 2024 is squaring up to be an eventful and memorable year for big sky shows starring our very own moon. This year will boast four full supermoons in a row; a total solar eclipse that will traverse North America (your only chance to see the event until 2044); two lunar eclipses; and, of course, 12 spectacular full moons.
If you hope to catch one (or more!) of these dazzling showings from the moon with the family this year, here’s what you need to know — and how to plan.
What To Know About 2024’s Two Lunar Eclipses
The first lunar eclipse of 2024 will happen on March 25th and will be a penumbral lunar eclipse, in which “the faint outer part of Earth’s shadow is cast across the lunar surface,” according to Space.com. While the penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible to viewers in North America, the effect is very subtle. For information on when, exactly, you can expect to see the penumbral lunar eclipse based on your location, check out TimeandDate.
On the other side of summer — from September 17 to 18 — we can look forward to a massive partial lunar eclipse that will grace the skies from North America to much of Europe, South America, Asia, and beyond. For information on when, exactly, you can expect to see the partial lunar eclipse based on your location, check out TimeandDate.
Everything To Know About 2024’s Total Solar Eclipse
On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will dash across North America, a rare and extraordinary event that is being called the “Great American Eclipse of 2024.” The eclipse will begin in Mexico and enter the United States, in Texas, around 1:40 p.m. local time. The eclipse will be viewable from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. After it exits Maine, it’ll hit Canada via Ontario, then slide across Quebec, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, before exiting Newfoundland around 5:16 p.m. local time.
Check out Fatherly’s full guide on April 2024’s total solar eclipse — including the best dark sky locations to see it.
What’s especially noteworthy about the April 2024 total solar eclipse is that the moon that blocks the sun’s rays will be, well, invisible — it’s not only a supermoon, but a new moon as well. While a full supermoon is unmissable — a dramatically illuminated oversize moon rising above the horizon — a new supermoon is essentially invisible to the naked eye (because the dark side of the moon is facing us). So while we won’t be able to see April’s new supermoon, it will be closer than usual to Earth when it blocks the sun.
During the total solar eclipse, the sky will shift to total darkness for nearly four minutes in the middle of the daylight hours as the new supermoon passes directly in front of the sun. The exact duration of the eclipse — and how dark your sky will get — will depend on where you live.
You won’t want to miss this eclipse, if at all possible — the next total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. won’t happen until August 2044, some 20 years from now. The good news is that this total solar eclipse will pass through many major American cities — from Dallas to Buffalo to Dayton to Stowe — so traveling to experience the totality is eminently doable. If you’re looking for more adventure, quiet, and remoteness, however, there are also National Parks in the path of totality, including the Waco Mammoth National Monument and Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
If you’re hoping to travel with the kids, you’ll want to start planning ASAP — locations along the path of totality expect to see a huge influx of visitors.
Catch Four Full Supermoons in a Row, in 2024
In 2024, moongazers will be treated to four straight full supermoons in a row. A supermoon is more or less what it sounds like — it’s when the moon is closer to Earth than normal, making it look massive in the sky. The good folks at NASA explain that the term supermoon “is actually just a nickname for what astronomers call a perigean full moon — a moon that is full and at its closest point in its orbit around Earth.”
A full moon is considered “super” because of how much closer it is to Earth — when the moon is at its closest, it appears much larger in the sky and looks brighter than a typical full moon.
But you don’t need to travel anywhere special to see these huge, bright, and often colorful moons — they’ll float along the treetops and buildings.
The 2024 full supermoons will occur on August 19th, September 18th, October 17th, and November 15th.
The Other Moons of 2024
While we won’t see a Blue moon until 2026 — that’s when two full moons appear within the same month — we can look forward to 12 beautiful full moons, from the Wolf Moon to the Flower Moon to the Hunter’s Moon, and beyond.
The 12 full moons this year, according to the Farmer’s Almanac:
- Jan. 25 — Wolf Moon
- Feb. 24 — Snow Moon
- March 25 — Worm Moon
- April 23 — Pink Moon
- May 23 — Flower Moon
- June 21 — Strawberry Moon
- July 21 — Sturgeon Moon
- Aug. 19 — Blue Moon
- Sep. 17 — Corn Moon
- Oct. 17 — Hunter’s Moon
- Nov. 15 — Beaver Moon
- Dec. 15 — Cold Moon
Other Good Reasons to Look Up in 2024
While the total solar eclipse flying over North America is the biggest can’t-miss event of 2024, we can also look forward to meteor showers galore: April’s Lyrids, the summer Aquariids, the Orionids, Perseids, Taurds, and more will delight and dazzle throughout the year. Stay tuned!