Total Solar Eclipses - Past and Future

Eclipse Path Across South Carolina (WPDE Graphic)

In 1979, Jimmy Carter was president, Sony introduced the Walkman and M*A*S*H* was still on TV. That was also the last time the United States was in the shadows of a total solar eclipse.

In South Carolina, it’s been even longer. Many long time residents remember the total solar eclipse that went right over all of eastern South Carolina on March 7th, 1970.

While solar eclipse occur somewhere on earth every 18 months or so, it can be decades between eclipses for any specific location on the globe.

The Great American Eclipse August 21st, 2017 will begin around 1:15pm, peak at 2:45pm then end at 4:15pm. At maximum eclipse, 99.2% of the sun will be covered by the moon in Florence and 99.4% in Myrtle Beach. Totality will only occur south of a line from Kingstree to Andrews to Pawleys Island.

After the Great American Eclipse on August 21, 2017, when will we see another?

For the United States, the next one will be in 7 years. On April 8th, 2024, totality will begin in Texas and sweep northeast through the Midwest and interior New England before exiting the Maine coast. In Myrtle Beach, 71% of the sun will be covered by the moon and in Florence that number peaks at 75%.

The next time totality crosses parts of South Carolina will be March 30th, 2052. Totality will sweep from Panama City, FL to Savannah, GA to Charleston, SC. Once again, Myrtle Beach and Florence are just outside of totality. On that date, the max eclipse for Myrtle Beach is 99.4% (same as this year) and Florence 96.6%.

It will be 61 years before we see totality pass right over our area. On May 11th, 2078, totality will cut a swath across the south from New Orleans, LA to Florence, SC to Cape Hatteras, NC. Totality will occur from Aynor to Florence and all the way west to Columbia and Charlotte and last for as much as 5 minutes and 40 seconds. Unfortunately, the Grand Strand is just outside of totality with 99.5% of the sun covered by the moon.

See you in 2078!

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