Exactly one year from now Arkansas will be in the direct path of The Great American Eclipse!

A solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the Earth and the sun, blocking out its light. The Great American Eclipse is special because it is a total solar eclipse. This means 100% of the sun will be blocked. The last total solar eclipse to get near Arkansas was in 2017.

This year in October the United States will be in the path of an annular solar eclipse. An annular solar eclipse means the moon does not block 100% of the sun’s light. The annular eclipse in October will only block 90% of the sun’s light along its path from Oregon to Texas. An annular solar eclipse is much more common than a total solar eclipse.

Arkansas will see between 70% and 80% coverage during this year’s Annular Solar Eclipse. You will need special glasses to view it this October 14th.

You will also need the glasses to view the 2024 total solar eclipse for the majority of the time. But for the brief period when the sun is completely blocked, you can take them off and view it with just your eyes.

The total eclipse will enter southwest Arkansas around 1:45 pm on April 8th, 2024. It will move at a speed of around 1800 mph and be over Little Rock, Conway, and Russellville around 1:50. It will exit northeast Arkansas around 2:00 pm. It will only be over Arkansas for about 15 minutes. Click here for the animation of the eclipse moving over the state!

The length of that brief period depends on where you are located in the path of totality. Along the blue line in the graphic above, totality will last over 4 minutes. Along the edges of the path where Little Rock is, totality will last about 2 minutes. So, it might be worth making the trip to the center of the path (although it might be very crowded).

Thousands and even millions of people are expected to flock to the Natural State for this historic total solar eclipse.

Nearly everything relies on the forecast. If it’s cloudy then other than it getting dark for a few minutes there isn’t much to see.

Obviously, it’s not possible to make an accurate forecast a whole year in advance, but we can look at the average cloudy cover in Arkansas during the month of April.

According to weatherspark.com, April days are sunny about 59% of the time. The months in Arkansas with the least amount of clouds are July through October. The last total solar eclipse to cross the United States was in 2017, and that came in August, a sunnier month on average.

All we can do is cross our fingers and hope that April 8th, 2024 is as sunny as April 8th, 2023 was!

See you in a year! – Meteorologist Alex Libby

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