How Often Do Total Solar Eclipses Occur?

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eclipse poster
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NASA/Michael Lentz

The frequency and rarity of a total solar eclipse

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The 2024 Old Farmer's Almanac

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A total eclipse’s rarity adds to its allure. For any given place on Earth, a total eclipse of the Sun appears just once every 375 years. But that interval is just the average. Let’s explore how often a total solar eclipse occurs where you live.

How Often Does a Total Solar Eclipse Occur?

A total solar eclipse is visible from somewhere on Earth about every 18 months. However, many of these events can be seen only from remote locales where travel is difficult. See the Almanac’s Eclipse Calendar for the upcoming year.

A better question is: How often is a total solar eclipse visible from any given location, such as the town where you live?

For any given place on Earth, a solar totality appears just once each 375, on average. Here and there, a few odd places enjoy two totalities in a single decade while others must cool their heels for more than a millennium. 

By chance, some locations are treated to total solar eclipses only a few years apart.

  • In the last 100 years, some areas have been in the path of multiple eclipses: New England, for example, saw five. 
  • In New York City, the last total solar eclipse was in 1925.
  • Chicago has not seen a total solar eclipse in the last 100 years.
  • On the west coast, San Diego was last eclipsed in 1923.
  • The city of Los Angeles is in the midst of a “dry spell” of more than 1,500 years without a total solar eclipse.
  • The location with the longest dry spell is near Tucson; the last solar eclipse was in the year 797.

Total Eclipse Interval Between Major Cities

For those who are curious as to how long one must wait between total solar eclipses, I put together a list of North American cities, and the current interval between totalities to show how great the variation is between them!

Total Eclipse Interval Between Major Cities


Most recent totality

Next totality

Years between eclipses

Anchorage, AK

1943, February 4

2399, August 2


Atlanta, GA

1778, June 24

2078, May 11


Boston, MA

1959, October 2

2079, May 1


Calgary, Alberta

1869, August 7

2044, August 23


Chicago, IL

1806, June 6

2205, July 17


Dallas, TX

1623, October 23

2024, April 8


Denver, CO

1878, July 29

2045, August 12


Halifax, Nova Scotia

1970, March 7

2079, May 1


Honolulu, HI

1850, August 7

2252, December 31


Houston, TX

1259, October 17

2200, April 14


Las Vegas, NV

1724, May 22

2207, November 20


Los Angeles, CA

1724, May 22

3290, April 1


Mexico City, Mexico

1991, July 11

2261, December 22


Miami, FL

1752, May 13

2352, February 16


Montreal, Quebec

1932, August 31

2024, April 8


New Orleans, LA

1900, May 28

2078, May 11


New York, NY

1925, January 24

2079, May 1


Phoenix, AZ

1806, June 16

2205, July 17


St. Louis, MO

1442, July 7

2017, August 21


San Francisco, CA

1424, June 26

2252, December 31


Seattle, WA

1860, July 18

2645, May 17


Toronto, Ontario

1142, August 22

2144, October 26


Washington, DC

1451, June 28

2200, April 14


Winnipeg, Manitoba

1979, February 26

3356, September 16


But the real reason to do everything in one’s power to see a total eclipse of the Sun: It’s nature’s most awesome experience. Surveys of backyard astronomers and naturalists show that most people are swept into awe by a brilliant comet, which happens every 15 to 20 years on average. And also by a bright display of the Northern Lights. One might include the rare bolide or exploding meteor. But the very best of them all is a solar totality. One is crossing a large swath of the U.S. plus a few small parts of Canada in about a year.

See my 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Guide!

About The Author

Bob Berman

Bob Berman, astronomer editor for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob is the world’s most widely read astronomer and has written ten popular books. Read More from Bob Berman

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