Total Solar Eclipse

The Total Solar Eclipse that took place on Monday, 8 April 2024. Image: Stan Honda / AFP

Total Solar Eclipse: When is South Africa’s turn?

North America came to an standstill this week when a Total Solar Eclipse had millions transfixed, but when is South Africa’s turn?

Total Solar Eclipse

The Total Solar Eclipse that took place on Monday, 8 April 2024. Image: Stan Honda / AFP

North America came to an standstill on Monday this week when a Total Solar Eclipse had millions transfixed.

The day died and was reborn a few minutes later in the southern United States.

There were hugs, tears and gasping as people watched the moon fully eclipse the sun and briefly plunge the world into darkness.

As reported by The South African website, the phenomenon was not visible from South Africa.

Do you know the different types of eclipses that occur – and when can South Africans expect their next showing?

According to the Tech Central website, an eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon are orientated in a straight – or roughly straight – line configuration.

What is a solar eclipse?

Solar eclipses occur when the moon moves between the Earth and the sun.

There are three types of solar eclipses: Total, partial and annular.

Total solar eclipses occur when the moon completely covers the sun.

The area where a total solar eclipse can be seen is usually limited to a narrow belt approximately 160km wide and 16 000km long.

People viewing from areas outside of this belt may be able to see a partial eclipse.

Finally, an annular solar eclipse is when the moon covers the centre of the sun while its outer edges are in view.

NOTE: A fourth type of solar eclipse, a ‘hybrid eclipse’ is comparatively rare.

What is a lunar eclipse?

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes between the moon and the sun.

In this scenario, the Earth’s shadow is cast over the moon, darkening the moon’s appearance, which is usually brightened by reflecting light from the sun.

Lunar eclipses also have three types: Total, partial and penumbral.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon entirely passes into the Earth’s umbra, the central part of the planet’s shadow.

A partial lunar eclipse occurs if the moon only partially passes into the planet’s umbra.

Finally, the outer part of the Earth’s shadow is called the penumbra, and a penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes exclusively into this portion of the Earth’s shadow without moving into the umbra.

Did you know?

Unlike a solar eclipse which can only be viewed from a relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of Earth.

A total lunar eclipse can last up to nearly two hours, while a total solar eclipse lasts only a few minutes at any given place, because the moon’s shadow is smaller.

Also, unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions.


Solar eclipses are far less frequent than lunar eclipses.

The next total solar eclipse visible in South Africa is expected on 25 November 2030

The next visible eclipse (of any sort) in South Africa will be a Partial Lunar Eclipse which is scheduled to take place on 18 September 2024.

Diarise the following dates!


Solar eclipseDate
Partial17 February 2026
Partial6 February 2027
Partial5 December 2029
Total25 November 2030
Partial21 May 2031
Partial9 May 2032


Lunar eclipseDate
Partial18 September 2024
Penumbral14 March 2025
Total7 September 2025
Partial28 August 2026
Penumbral20 February 2027
Partial12 January 2028
Partial6 July 2028
Total31 December 2028
Total26 June 2029
Total20 December 2029
Partial15 June 2030
Penumbral9 December 2030
Penumbral7 May 2031
Total25 April 2032
Total18 October 2032
Total14 April 2033
Penumbral3 April 2034
Partial28 September 2034