Many of you may have watched the solar eclipse in August 2017 as it passed across parts of the Southeast. Even though we did not quite get to totality in Athens, GA, we held a viewing event in the football stadium (thanks to the Athletic Department!) for over 10,000 students and locals to watch as it reached about 99% of totality. The total eclipse was streamed on the big screen and students learned about the history and science of eclipses and listened to music with sun- and moon-based themes.

The next big eclipse in the United States is on April 8, 2024. While it won’t be a total eclipse anywhere in the Southeast, there will be a significant reduction in sunlight as the moon passes between the sun and the earth. I am planning to visit friends in Austin TX for the eclipse this year and hope to see about 2 minutes of totality there if there are no clouds. If you are thinking of going somewhere to view the total eclipse, here is a discussion of the climatological likelihood of clouds from the Washington Post on that date and time of day. Even if it is mostly cloudy, though, the clouds may break or disappear and so be prepared with eclipse glasses just in case. In 2017, I remember that most of the summer cumulus clouds evaporated in the hour before the eclipse due to the reduction in sunlight, leaving clear skies at the moment of maximum darkness.