2024’s total eclipse, which will be the last total solar eclipse in the U.S. until 2045, will be quite the spectacle when it happens in April. But now some experts are saying it could be even more amazing than we thought, mostly because we’re quickly approaching the solar maximum.
The solar maximum is essentially the point at which the sun is most active, thus making it more likely for solar flares and coronal mass ejections (otherwise called CMEs) more likely. These explosive sequences occur when the sun releases bursts of solar energy, and they’ve always made for quite the light show.
How will the solar maximum change the upcoming 2024 total eclipse? According to solar physicists who spoke with The Washington Post, the solar maximum could very well mean more activity around the sun during the eclipse.
This increased activity could include a number of things from streamers that appear to emanate from the sun’s surface. These streamers are bouts of solar wind, which can travel upwards of 1 million miles per hour, creating a beautiful effect that may be visible during the eclipse.
Further, the 2024 total eclipse could be privy to some magnetic loops, where the sun’s magnetic field appears to loop out away from the surface of the star. This creates a beautiful effect as well, and you may be able to see some of these spectacular sights during the solar eclipse in April.
Ultimately, it’s unclear just how much the solar maximum will affect the 2024 total eclipse. However, we know that this eclipse will be quite the spectacle anyway, with millions expected to flock to towns within the eclipse’s path of totality, where they’ll be able to witness this beautiful and iconic event for the last time until 2045.
Total solar eclipses aren’t exactly rare. However, it is rare that these kinds of eclipses pass across the United States, especially in such a wide arc as is expected on April 8.