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History of Total Solar Eclipses in US

Editor’s note: Dr. Thomas Rokoske is Professor Emeritus in Appalachian State University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.

By Dr. Thomas Rokoske

Since 1869 there have been three total solar eclipses in North Carolina: Aug. 7, 1869, May 28, 1900, and March 7, 1970. There will be three more before the end of the century: Aug. 21, 2017, May 11, 2078 and Sept. 14, 2099.

The 1869 total solar eclipse covered almost all of the state. Only small areas in the southwest and northeast of North Carolina were missed. This year’s total eclipse will cover almost all of Southwestern North Carolina not covered in 1869, and the total eclipse of 2099 will cover the areas missed in Northeastern North Carolina.

In 230 years, approximately 99 percent of our state will have experienced a total eclipse: quite remarkable for a state of our size. In addition, the region around the town of Manteo will experience totality during two future solar eclipses: in 2078 and in 2099. Then Manteo could be considered the Total Eclipse Capital of the Eastern United States.


These NASA maps from Goddard Space Flight Center of Total Solar Eclipses show the six paths of total eclipses occurring in North Carolina during 250 years from 1851 through 2100.