The total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, will be the first such event to occur in the continental United States since 1979, and the first eclipse that will be seen coast-to-coast since 1918. The day will see eclipse chasers arrive en masse to the best U.S. cities for the eclipse.
Everyone’s rightfully pumped about the eclipse later this month, because the next eclipse like the one in a few weeks won’t happen for a long time. Today marks the 28-year countdown to August 12, 2045, when the next coast-to-coast total solar eclipse will take place.
Per the American Astronomical Society, here’s a timeline:
After a drought of 38 years between the 1979 and 2017 total solar eclipses, the continental U.S. will have another one in just 7 years, when totality sweeps from Texas to Maine on April 8, 2024. If you don’t want to wait that long, you can join the eclipse-chasing community and make your travel plans to intercept the Moon’s shadow on July 2, 2019, in the South Pacific, Chile, or Argentina; on December 14, 2020, in the South Pacific, Chile, Argentina, or the South Atlantic; on December 4, 2021, in Antarctica; and/or on April 20, 2023, in the Indian Ocean, Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, or the South Pacific. Even the next coast-to-coast total solar eclipse isn’t too far off; the Moon’s shadow crosses the country from California to Florida on August 12, 2045.
So that’s a lot of dates, but the big ones, the ones that mark coast-to-coast total solar eclipses in the United States, are August 21 of this month and August 12, 2045.
To get a sense of how far into the future 28 years is — the year 2045 — look backward for a second. Twenty-eight years ago, the world wide web was invented. The top song was “Batdance” by Prince, recorded for the soundtrack to the first modern live-action Batman movie. The Sega Genesis video game console was released in August, 1989. The summer of 1989 also saw the release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Ghostbusters II, in addition to Batman.
If you go back even further, to 1979, the last year there was a total solar eclipse across North America, the top song on the radio during the February eclipse was “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” by Rod Stewart. The coolest new piece of consumer technology was the Sony Walkman, the portable cassette player released on July 1 of that year.
If you look ahead, leading futurist Ray Kurzweil has predicted the singularity — the moment that technology advances beyond human control — will begin in 2045. Self-driving cars will dominate the market, as 70 percent of new cars will be autonomous. Each person is expected to own an astounding 22 internet-connected gadgets. An article in The Telegraph published in 2015 cited the predictions of Alex Ayed, a professor at Imperial College in London. He predicts that in 2045, we will be able to purchase “high-quality emotions online” and — this may not seem so far-fetched — “artificial intelligence will find the answers to many of the humanity’s biggest questions.”
Ready Player One, the movie based off the book by Ernest Cline which opens in theaters in March, is set in 2045. Here’s hoping the dystopian future of Columbus, Ohio isn’t the setting for the coast-to-coast total solar eclipse of 2045.
The occurrences of total solar eclipses across North America are rare, wonderful scientific and cultural milestones. With the August 21 eclipse upon us, it’s not too early to start looking ahead to the next total solar eclipse set for August 12, 2045. How different the world will sure be then.