Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Total Eclipse of the...Sun

    __By Tiffany Amber Stockton__

In March, the Barbie Doll received the spotlight focus. Since the United States observed a historic event yesterday, I thought it might be fun to cover the only 13 total eclipses which have appeared in the U.S. since the nation's inception.

Total Solar Eclipse Legacy in the United States

Just 1 day ago, on April 8, 2024, folks in certain regions of the United States witnessed a remarkable celestial event: a rare total solar eclipse. Were you one of them? During this event, anyone within the path of totality witnessed the sun completely obscured by the moon for several minutes.

Today, my son turns 13 and officially bears the honorable badge of "teenager." What a way to ring in his teenage years with a historic event in his lifetime the day before!

These occurrences don't happen often, particularly in the United States. The last total solar eclipse visible from here happened back in 2017, and the next won't grace our skies until 2044.

My family drove up to Wyoming with some friends in 2017, spent two days camping out and participated in activities led by a park ranger at Fort Laramie. Our kids received special eclipse badges along with their Jr. Ranger state park badges for that location.

This year, we live about three hours away from where the totality band passed across the country, but we didn't drive. Instead, we created some fun activities and snacks and viewed the eclipse from our log cabin in the woods. :)

Here's a historical glimpse into recorded total solar eclipses in the United States:

Total Solar Eclipses in the U.S. Through the Ages

18th Century:

In 1778, just a few years post the birth of the United States, the country witnessed its first recorded total solar eclipse. Notable figures like Thomas Jefferson and troops from Washington's army observed this celestial marvel.

19th Century:

  • 1806: This first eclipse of the century crossed from Arizona through the Midwest into New England.
  • 1869: Spanning from Alaska to the Carolinas, this eclipse marked the first time photos appeared in Harper's Magazine.
  • 1878: This eclipse, stretching from Alaska to Louisiana, drew the attention of an all-female team of astronomers and even Thomas Edison himself.

20th Century:

  • 1900: Passing over Wadesboro, North Carolina.
  • 1918: The last eclipse visible across the entire continent from east to west for nearly a century.
  • 1925: Traversing from Minnesota through New England.
  • 1932: Mostly in Canada but visible in northern New England.
  • 1963: Seen in Alaska and parts of northern New England.
  • 1970: Visible from the coast of the Southwest United States.
  • 1979: Mostly through Canada, with glimpses in the Pacific Northwest and parts of Idaho and the Dakotas.

21st Century:

Only two total solar eclipses have graced the U.S. thus far in this century. The first, in 2017, was visible across the nation. The eagerly anticipated April 8, 2024, eclipse carved a path from Texas to the Northeast, captivating millions of spectators along its journey.

Future Sightings:

Following yesterday's event, Americans will have to wait until August 2044 for the next total solar eclipse on home soil. While these phenomena occur globally every one to three years, visibility often remains restricted to the Earth's poles or remote oceanic regions.

Now, in addition to the amazement of being fortunate enough to witness something like this, I also see it as evidence of God's wondrous creation and divine design:

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.


* Did you travel to the band of totality, or do you live inside the band? If you traveled, how far did you go?

* If you stayed put, did you take the time to go outside and view the eclipse? Were there any "viewing parties" around you anywhere? Special events? Work or school letting out early?

* How many total solar eclipses have you seen in your lifetime?

** This note is for our email readers. Please do not reply via email with any comments. View the blog online and scroll down to the comments section.

Come back on the 9th of each month for my next foray into historical tidbits to share.

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Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning, best-selling author and speaker who is also a professional copywriter/copyeditor. She loves to share life-changing products and ideas with others to help improve their lives in a variety of ways.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children, one dog, and three cats in southeastern Kentucky. In the 20+ years she's been a professional writer, she has sold twenty-six (26) books so far and is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on Facebook and GoodReads.


  1. I have never gone to an area of a total eclipse. But they are interesting to watch through a pinhole camera. I wonder if Native American's have records of ecilpses in centuries before explorers came to our shores.

  2. Thanks for posting today. We live in the area of Maine that reached 97% totality or so. I was disappointed that it didn't get darker! But we did watch it from home. 100% was in the northern part of our state, and traffic leaving today is crazy from the news reports. I think I remember the 1963 eclipse. I will have to Google to see where the path was. I do remember a day when it got quite dark and freaked my mom out!

  3. I was in the 99% range (Metro-Detroit). It's amazing how bright just a sliver of sun can make the earth. However, what I really enjoyed were the eerie shadows cast by the eclipse---and then how cool it suddenly got. I went inside my house and noticed how dark it was, though patches of sunlight could be seen, but didn't brighten the room any.
    Yep---it was very cool...and even not being in the totality band, it was still amazing. I did take photos, inside and out, as well.