WE WERE HAVING A DISCUSSION AT WORK AND WERE WONDERING WHEN THE LAST TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE THAT COULD BE SEEN IN NORTH CAROLINA WAS. SOME THINK IT WAS IN 1970 AND SOME THINK IT WAS LATER THAN THAT. ALSO, HOW OFTEN WILL YOU HAVE A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE? WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE THAT CAN BE SEEN FROM THE RALEIGH AREA?
Posted May 6, 2007
MIKE MOSS SAYS: Folks, eastern North Carolina, South Carolina and southeast Virginia last experienced a total solar eclipse that was visible in those areas on March 7, 1970. I remember watching it myself from the front yard of my family's home in Rocky Mount, and how eerie it was as the the sky darkened and especially as shadow bands rippled across the ground just before and after totality. A map showing the path of totality for that event, along with other North American eclipses between 1951 and 2100, is available at
Total solar eclipses are very rare events for a given area. In the hundred years from 1901 to 2000, only one such eclipse (the March 1970 event) was visible here, and that one only over the Coastal Plain. We do a little better in the next century, with paths of totality crossing North Carolina's southwest mountains in August 2017, the southeastern half of the state in May 2078, and the northeastern Coastal Plain in September 2099.