Two years before another great total solar eclipse in Mexico

The amazing spectacle that is seen during the totality of a solar eclipse will last up to four and a half minutes in some of these sites.

Two years before another great total solar eclipse in Mexico
Two years away from another great total solar eclipse in Mexico. Photo by Justin Dickey / Unsplash

On April 8, 2024, we will be able to observe a total solar eclipse from Mexico; by that date, we will already have had the opportunity to appreciate another one, on October 14, 2023, which will be annular and equally spectacular. Although it will be a couple of years away, we should start preparing ourselves, these are two events that we cannot miss.

On April 8, 2022, the National Committee for the Eclipses of 2023 and 2024 will be formally presented in public. It will take place in Torreón, one of the sites located in the totality band of the 2024 eclipse. The Committee is made up of research and teaching institutions in astrophysics, astronomical societies, planetariums, state science councils, and others, which are already organizing themselves so that the general population can enjoy them, always with all the safety measures.

Eduardo Hernández, the promoter, and leader of Planetarium Torreón has not only invited us but has also obtained the sponsorships to be able to carry out this presentation, which will also be the first face-to-face meeting that the Committee will have, after working remotely for a year.

In addition to Coahuila, the 2024 eclipse will pass through the states of Sinaloa and Durango, including important cities such as Mazatlan, Durango, Monclova, Piedras Negras, and the aforementioned Torreon.  The amazing spectacle that is seen during the totality of a solar eclipse will last up to four and a half minutes in some of these sites.

The presentation of the Committee in the Comarca Lagunera is very symbolic, since the best observation point of the entire eclipse, which falls in our territory, is in this area, on the border between the states of Durango and Coahuila. In addition, according to weather statistics, the date is perfect for the north-central region of the country. Almost zero probability of rain and clouds around only seven percent.

The Committee has organized itself into working groups to distribute the various and abundant tasks. From contact with state and federal authorities, education, media, social networks, and content, to the crucial part that has to do with the security and logistics of the observation.

In each state where the maximum eclipse will pass through, local committees have been formed. For the 2024 totality, there is already a committee in Sinaloa led by the Universidad Autónoma, another one in the Comarca (Durango and Coahuila) that is led by Planetarium Torreón, and one more in Nuevo León, although in the state the eclipse will only be partial, they are very committed and are led by the UANL, its members have a great experience in observing the Sun and were the main promoters of the safe observation at the national level of the 2017 partial eclipse.

The central part of the annular eclipse of 2023, will pass in Mexico over cities such as Campeche, Xpujil, and Chetumal, in addition to a good part of the Calakmul Reserve, from where the famous "ring of fire" will be observed.

In the peninsula there are already committees in Yucatan, led by the National School of Higher Education in Merida; in Quintana Roo, led by the Quintana Roo Council for Science and Technology (COQCYT); and in Campeche, led by the State Council for Scientific Research and Technological Development of Campeche (COESICYDET).

We know that on these exceptional occasions, when Sun-Moon-Earth aligns in this order, a solar eclipse is produced, since the Moon interposes itself between our star and the Earth, projecting its shadow over some areas of our planet. From these areas, it is possible to see how it becomes night in the middle of the day since our star disappears totally or partially. The shadow of our satellite has two components, the umbra, and the penumbra. If we are in the zone of our planet where the umbra hits, we will see a total eclipse, while if we are in the penumbra zone, we will observe only a partial eclipse.

In both eclipses, in 2023 and 2024, in all of the Mexican Republic, except the places already mentioned where the maximum eclipses will occur, a partial eclipse will be observed. This is important since it will be necessary to carry out national training, information, and awareness campaigns about the importance of eclipses and, above all, about the safety measures we must follow to appreciate and enjoy them. This is one of the main and major tasks ahead for the National Committee, which, with the people who make up the Committee, will surely be achieved.

By Raúl Mújica, Source: Saberes y Ciencias