When is the next eclipse? Solar and lunar eclipses 2021

From a ‘ring of fire’ and the UK’s biggest solar eclipse for years to a polar solar eclipse, 2021 is set to be a great year for eclipses of the Sun and Moon.

An annular solar eclipse captured from Lubbock, Texas in 2012. Credit: Willoughby Owen / Getty Images

When is the next eclipse? Once one spectacular solar or lunar eclipse is over, this is the question on everyone’s lips. Luckily astronomers know exactly when and where the next eclipses will be taking place, and which parts of the world will get the best views.

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Here we’ll look at all the eclipses that will be visible from Earth in 2021, including how to get the best views, and what you can expect to see.

Of particular note for UK viewers will be Britain’s biggest solar eclipse since 2015.

The next solar eclipse visible from the UK will be the 10 June 2021 solar eclipse, when observers will see as much as 32% of the Sun covered by the Moon.

The solar corona visible during the total solar eclipse on 2 July, 2019, captured from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. Totality will strike again in 2020. Credit: P. Horálek/ESO
The solar corona visible during a total solar eclipse on 2 July, 2019, captured from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. Credit: P. Horálek/ESO

It won’t be a total solar eclipse – when the Moon moves precisely between the Sun and the Earth – but since there’s not one of those in the UK until 2090, June’s eclipse is sure to be a big event for amateurs.

It is, however, part of a much bigger annular solar eclipse – commonly referred to as a ‘ring of fire’ – that will be visible from Canada, Greenland and Russia.

It will be preceded by a total lunar eclipse, just as a rare total solar eclipse in Antarctica towards the end of the year will be preceded by a partial lunar eclipse.

Eclipse glasses at the ready! Eclipse chasers observe the total tolar eclipse in Bella Vista, San Juan, Argentina, 3 July 2019. Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Eclipse glasses at the ready! Eclipse chasers observe the total tolar eclipse in Bella Vista, San Juan, Argentina, 3 July 2019. Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

So with an annular solar eclipse close to the North Pole and a total solar eclipse close to the South Pole, 2021 will contain a potpourri of eclipses.

Here’s everything you need to know about when, where and for how long 2021’s solar and lunar eclipses will occur in 2021.

Solar and lunar eclipses in 2021

1

10 June 2021: Annular solar eclipse

An annular solar eclipse, 15 January 2010 in Qingdao, Shandong Province of China. Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images.
An annular solar eclipse, 15 January 2010, Qingdao, Shandong Province of China. Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images.

Get out your solar eclipse safety glasses! Here comes a ‘ring of fire’, though not for the UK.

Technically the solar eclipse of 10 June 2021 will be an annular solar eclipse, because a perfect ring will be left around the Moon during the maximum annularity.

This will happen because the Sun, Moon and Earth are aligned while the Moon is close to its apogee – the furthest it gets from Earth in its elliptical monthly orbit.

It will be slightly too small in the sky to completely cover the Sun, and that effect will be visible from a narrow path from far north Ontario, Canada to northeast Russia, via Greenland.

However, from the UK this will be a partial solar eclipse, and annularity will not be visible.

An annular solar eclipse, Vigo, Spain, 3 October 2005. Credit: MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images)
An annular solar eclipse, Vigo, Spain, 3 October 2005. Credit: MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images)

COVID-19 travel restrictions allowing, Qaanaaq in northwestern Greenland – predicted to have the best chance of clear skies – will be visited by tour groups from AstroTrails and Betchart Expeditions, which will also send a tour group to Baffin Island in Canada.

During the event a ‘ring of fire’ will be visible for a maximum of 3 minutes 51 seconds, though about 10-20 seconds less in Qaanaaq and Baffin Island.

For British observers, the event will solely be a partial solar eclipse. The Moon will first appear to take a bite out of the Sun at around 10:10, reach maximum eclipse and then move off the Sun by 13:21 on 10 June, 2021.

From Scotland a 32% eclipsed Sun will be possible, while for west Wales it’s 25% and in London 20%.

Partial solar eclipse in Iran Omid Qadrdan/Ahmad Riahi Dehkordi, Hengam Island, Iran, 26 December 2019 Equipment: Canon 6D Mark I DSLR
Partial solar eclipse by Omid Qadrdan /Ahmad Riahi Dehkordi, Hengam Island, Iran, 26 December 2019

For UK observers the event will be a taste of what’s to come in the mid-2020s. A partial solar eclipse on 29 March, 2025 will bring a 60% eclipse while on 12 August 2026 a total solar eclipse for Iceland and Spain will see 90% of the Sun covered from the UK.

The next annular solar eclipse to occur in the UK will be on 23 July 2093 when northern England and southern Scotland will see a ‘ring of fire’ for 5 minutes and 11 seconds.

More info about the 10 June 2021 annular solar eclipse

2

19 November 2021: Partial lunar eclipse

Partial lunar eclipse, Zaprudnya, Russia, 7 August 2017. Captured by Dmitry Ardashev.
Partial lunar eclipse, Zaprudnya, Russia, 7 August 2017. Captured by Dmitry Ardashev.

A ‘Half-Blood’ Moon, anyone? Although it might sound like an interesting sight, to appear reddish during a lunar eclipse the Moon has to enter Earth’s umbra – its central shadow in space.

Sadly during this event only a few per cent of the Moon’s surface will have entered the umbra before moonset in the UK on 19 November, 2021. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see.

From the UK a penumbral lunar eclipse (when the Moon enters Earth’s outer shadow in space) will begin just over an hour before moonset while our satellite hangs about 10° above the northwestern horizon.

A penumbral lunar eclipse, like this one from 2017, is much dimmer than a regular full moon. © Jamie Carter
November 2021 observers in the UK will see a penumbral lunar eclipse, like this one from 2017. © Jamie Carter.

That’s a shame because from other parts of the world – notably North and South America, Australia and Asia – 97% of the Moon will enter Earth’s umbra and turn reddish.

Although totality will never be reached, that partial eclipse phase will last for 3 hours and 29 minutes.

More info about the 19 November 2021 partial lunar eclipse

3

4 December 2021: Total solar eclipse

There’s a chance to see a total solar eclipse on 4 December from Antarctica. Credit: Pete Lawrence
There’s a chance to see a total solar eclipse on 4 December from Antarctica. Credit: Pete Lawrence

Here comes the eclipse everyone wants to see – totality low in the sky above floating icebergs – but few likely will. A total solar eclipse on White Continent is a pretty rare event, occurring just over every 18 years, though in the time since the last one tourism has rapidly developed in Antarctica.

COVID-19 travel restrictions allowing, dozens of expeditionary cruise ships are planning to ply the Wedell Sea close to the South Orkney islands at 60° South searching for clear skies early on 4 December, 2021 for about 1 minute 40 seconds of totality.

The likes of Astro Trails, Aurora Expeditions, Albatros Expeditions, Naturetrek and Sur Cross are all running week-long (or longer) cruises that also include the highlights of Antarctica.

Eclipse-chasers on cruise ships will be hoping for clear skies and a still ocean during the eclipse © Albatross Expeditions
Eclipse-chasers on cruise ships will be hoping for clear skies and a still ocean during the eclipse © Albatross Expeditions

Since the event occurs just after sunrise (during a time of year in Antarctica when the Sun only sets for a couple of hours) and the area usually has cloudy skies, there are some plans for special EFLIGHT 2021-SUNRISE flights to take-off from Chile and Argentina to view totality at the point of sunrise while flying above the ice.

Meanwhile, TravelQuest will fly 60+ people to Union Glacier from Punta Arenas for around £32,000 per person.

The next total solar eclipse to occur in the UK will be on 23 September 2090 when Cornwall and much of the south coast of England will experience totality for 3 minutes and 36 seconds just minutes before sunset.

More info about the 4 December 2021 total solar eclipse

Next eclipses

Every solar and lunar eclipse up until the end of 2026.

30 April 2022: Chile and Argentina

Type: Partial Solar Eclipse

At its maximum between the Antarctic Peninsula and Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America, this eclipse will be seen most easily as an (up to) 55% eclipsed sunset in Chile and western Argentina, with the Sun’s obscuration reducing the further north you go.

16 May 2022

Type: Total Lunar Eclipse

A reddish full Moon for 1 hour 25 minutes is the prize for anyone in the eastern half of the US. and South America, though those in Europe and Africa will get a glimpse of the eclipse at moonset.

25 October 2022: the UK and Europe

Type: Partial Solar Eclipse

At most a 23% partially eclipsed Sun will be visible from the U.K. though. That increases to the east across Europe, reaching 82% in central Russia and central Asia. Rajasthan in India would be a great location from where to watch a 38% eclipsed sunset.

8 November 2022

Type: Total Lunar Eclipse

A near-identical event to the total lunar eclipse six months prior, tonight will see a 1 hour 25 minute lunar totality that will be best seen from the west coast of the U.S. Australia and southeast Asia will also be in a good position. It won’t be visible in Europe or Africa.

20 April 2023: Western Australia

Type: Total Solar Eclipse 

You can swim with whalesharks off Exmouth. Credit: CC0 Public Domain (pixabay.com)
You can swim with whalesharks off Exmouth. Credit: CC0 Public Domain (pixabay.com)

Would you travel halfway across the world to experience one minute of totality? For eclipse chasers, that’s more than enough, so the tiny Exmouth Peninsula – the only part of Australia crossed by the path of totality – is sure to be bursting with observers from around the world. Exmouth is also the place to swim with whalesharks, the ocean’s biggest fish at 40ft.

For more Aussie stargazing, read our guide to astronomy in Australia.

14 October 2023: North & South America

Type: Annular Solar Eclipse

Crater Lake in Oregon will see a Ring of Fire in 2023. Credit: CC0 Public Domain (pixabay.com)
Crater Lake in Oregon will see a Ring of Fire in 2023. Credit: CC0 Public Domain (pixabay.com)

This annular eclipse crosses Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and origin, as well as parts of Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia and Brazil. Crater Lake in Oregon, or the Mayan temple of Edzna on the Yucatan Peninsula are both in the firing line.

8 April 2024: Mexico, US & Canada

Type: Total Solar Eclipse

Little Rock, Arkansas gets totality in 2024. Credit: Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
Little Rock, Arkansas gets totality in 2024. Credit: Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Two total solar eclipses in seven years?! Although it happens in Spring where clear skies are certainly not guaranteed, this four-minute totality is set to top 2017’s event. The Path of Totality passes over Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, New York and Vermont, and Canada. Remarkably, one area around Carbondale, Illinois will get a second go at totality, having already seen it in 2017.

2 October 2024: Easter Island & Chile

Type: Annular Solar Eclipse

A Ring of Fire crosses Easter Island in 2024. Credit: Easter Island Travel
A Ring of Fire crosses Easter Island in 2024. Credit: Easter Island Travel

Although this is also visible in Patagonia on southern Chile’s Pacific coast, this Ring of Fire would be best enjoyed among the monoliths of Easter Island. This South Pacific island, over 2,000 miles from mainland South America, has an astronomical allure all of its own. Huge stone statues known as Moai face inland from every beach, and are said to stare at the stars.

14 March 2025

Type: Total Lunar Eclipse

An hour-long ‘Blood Moon’ will be visible to all in the U.S. and Canada, and South America. The west coast of North Africa will receive a glimpse of an eclipsed moonset and the west coast of Australia will see an eclipsed moonrise.

29 March 2025: the UK and Europe

Type: Partial Solar Eclipse

As much as 47% of the Sun will be blocked by the Moon from the U.K. during this event. It will be visible most easily in Europe, though extreme southeastern Atlantic Canada will be able to try for an 84% eclipsed sunrise.

7 September 2025

Type: Total Lunar Eclipse

A 1 hour 22 minute lunar totality will be on show to Africa, India, China and Australia as the entire Indian Ocean gets its decade-best view of a ‘Blood Moon’.

21 September 2025: New Zealand

Type: Partial Solar Eclipse

An eclipsed sunrise that sees about 72% of the Sun blocked by the Moon is going to be visible from New Zealand – and that’s it!

17 February 2026: Southern Chile 

Type: Annular Solar Eclipse

About 96% of the Sun’s center will be obscured for just 2 minutes 20 seconds, but only to a remote part of Antarctica. Southern Chile will get the merest of partial solar eclipses. This will be an eclipse almost exclusively for penguins and whales.

3 March 2026

Type: Total Lunar Eclipse

About 58 minutes of lunar totality will be observable from the U.S., Australia and East Asia, though since the Moon’s southern limb only just makes it inside Earth’s shadow, our satellite may remain fairly bright.

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12 August 2026: Iceland and Spain

Type: Total Solar Eclipse

A sky full of auroras during totality in Iceland!? That is very unlikely. More probable is that the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ will be clouded-out. However, while a 2 minutes 10 seconds totality will occur 25º above the horizon from Iceland’s Snæfellsnes peninsula, in northern Spain it will be just 10º up, and decreasing to a risky eclipsed sunset from Majorca. Wherever you watch from you’ll be on tenterhooks for clear skies.