Happy Eclipse Day! A History of Eclipses in Columbus

In honor of today’s historic “Great American Eclipse”, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at both eclipses that have affected the area in years past, as well as those that will come long into the future.

Solar eclipses are not as unusual as people think, but to have the sun mostly or completely covered in any particular area IS relatively rare. In Columbus, that is no exception. Looking back in time to 1900, here are Columbus’ greatest solar eclipses. Only those solar eclipses with at least 75% coverage will be detailed. For maps, animated recreations, etc., follow the links.

1900-1909
Total Solar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 4
Total Solar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 1
Total Solar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 0
Total Lunar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 15
Total Lunar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 5
Total Lunar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 4

May 28, 1900 Solar Eclipse: 7:43AM-10:07AM
This eclipse was the most significant of the 1900-1909 decade for Columbus. The path of totality entered the United States around Brownsville, Texas, crossed New Orleans, went just south of Atlanta and left the country at Virginia Beach, Virginia. In Columbus, maximum coverage reached 82.58%.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=19000528

1910-1919
Total Solar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 6
Total Solar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 0
Total Solar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 0
Total Lunar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 15
Total Lunar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 7
Total Lunar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 5

June 8, 1918 Solar Eclipse: 6:28PM-8:22PM
This eclipse’s path of totality is somewhat similar to August 21, 2017, only a few hundred miles to further south. Path of totality entered the US in southern Washington state, moved across Denver, just north of Oklahoma City to central Mississippi and northern Florida. In Columbus, maximum coverage reached 72.58%, making this the most significant solar eclipse of the 1910s.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=19180608

1920-1929
Total Solar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 3
Total Solar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 1
Total Solar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 0
Total Lunar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 16
Total Lunar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 5
Total Lunar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 4

January 24, 1925 Solar Eclipse: 7:52AM-10:12AM
Path of totality for this eclipse began in northern Minnesota, crossed northern Michigan, Buffalo and then over Long Island, New York. In Columbus, coverage reached 92.79%, the highest of any solar eclipse in the 20th Century.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=19250124

1930-1939
Total Solar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 4
Total Solar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 1
Total Solar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 0
Total Lunar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 13
Total Lunar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 4
Total Lunar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 3

August 31, 1932 Solar Eclipse: 3:15PM-5:36PM
The path of totality on this eclipse was somewhat unusual, moving south out of northern Canada over Montreal and then just east of Boston. In Columbus, coverage reached 79.31%, the highest during the 1930s.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=19320831

1940-1949
Total Solar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 4
Total Solar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 0
Total Solar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 0
Total Lunar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 14
Total Lunar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 6
Total Lunar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 5

April 7, 1940 Solar Eclipse: 3:39PM-6:12PM
While there were no solar eclipses during the 1940s that reached at least 75% coverage in Columbus, the most significant during the decade did reach 61.86% coverage. The path of totality for this eclipse was in the Deep South, crossing into the US in central Texas and then riding along the Gulf Coast until it exited around Jacksonville, Florida.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=19400407

1950-1959
Total Solar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 3
Total Solar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 2
Total Solar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 0
Total Lunar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 15
Total Lunar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 4
Total Lunar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 4

September 1, 1951 Solar Eclipse: 6:01AM-8:05AM
Because this eclipse began in the morning, the first half was not visible, and the maximum coverage in Columbus, at 81.58% and the greatest during the decade, occurred just as the sun was rising on the horizon, so it was poor viewing overall. Path of totality began in far eastern Tennessee and moved out of the US at Virginia Beach, Virginia.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=19510901

June 30, 1954 Solar Eclipse: 6:06AM-7:56AM
As with the eclipse in 1951, this one began early in the morning, so the first half was not visible. Viewing was slightly better than in 1951, as maximum occurred while the sun was over the horizon, but because it was still low, one needed a clear eastern view to really see it. In Columbus, maximum reached 76.59%, second best of the decade. Path of totality for this eclipse began in north-central Nebraska and moved northeast over Minneapolis and then into Canada and off northern Newfoundland.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=19540630

1960-1969
Total Solar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 4
Total Solar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 0
Total Solar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 0
Total Lunar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 16
Total Lunar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 9
Total Lunar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 8

July 20, 1963 Solar Eclipse: 4:34PM-6:49PM
This eclipse’s totality path was almost entirely in Canada, only entering the US briefly in Maine. In Columbus, coverage reached 72.41%, the maximum of any solar eclipse during the 1960s.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=19630720

1970-1979
Total Solar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 6
Total Solar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 1
Total Solar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 0
Total Lunar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 13
Total Lunar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 5
Total Lunar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 5

March 7, 1970 Solar Eclipse: 12:12PM-2:43PM
Path of totality moved north through the panhandle of Florid and then along the East Coast before exiting the US at Virginia Beach, Virginia (they seem to be in a lot of eclipse paths). In Columbus, maximum reached 79.10%, the most in the 1970s.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=19700307

1980-1989
Total Solar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 2
Total Solar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 1
Total Solar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 0
Total Lunar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 13
Total Lunar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 3
Total Lunar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 3

May 30, 1984 Solar Eclipse: 11:09AM-2:08PM
The 1980s had very few solar eclipses, but it did have one of the 20th Century’s best for Columbus. Path of totality was unusually narrow for this eclipse, but the 90%+ coverage was very wide. Totality went from just north of New Orleans over Atlanta and off the coast of Maryland. In Columbus, coverage reached 82.44%, a top 5 of the century.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=19840530

1990-1999
Total Solar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 3
Total Solar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 1
Total Solar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 0
Total Lunar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 16
Total Lunar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 5
Total Lunar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 4

May 10, 1994 Solar Eclipse: 11:28AM-3:00PM
For me, this is the only eclipse I can remember experiencing. Path of totality went northeast from southern New Mexico through northern Ohio and off of Maine and Nova Scotia. In Columbus, coverage reached 87.48% and was the 2nd highest of the 20th Century. This was also the only solar eclipse of the century where the path of totality entered Ohio.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=19940510

2000-2009
Total Solar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 4
Total Solar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 0
Total Solar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 0
Total Lunar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 14
Total Lunar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 7
Total Lunar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 7

No significant eclipses occurred in Columbus during the 2000s. The most significant was December 25, 2000, when coverage reached just 42.42%

2010-2019
Total Solar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 3
Total Solar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 1
Total Solar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 0
Total Lunar Eclipses that affected Columbus: 15
Total Lunar Eclipses with at least 75% coverage: 6
Total Lunar Eclipses with 100% coverage: 5

August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse: 1:04PM-3:52PM
The most significant eclipse so far this century, the “Great American Eclipse” is the first one to transit across the US west to east since 1898. Path of totality enters the US in Oregon and crosses Kansas City, St. Louis and Nashville before exiting the country over Charleston, South Carolina. In Columbus, it will be the most significant solar eclipse since 1994 and the 3rd best since 1900, with 86.55% coverage.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=20170821

Significant Future Solar Eclipses

April 8, 2024 Solar Eclipse: 1:55PM-4:26PM
This eclipse will be Columbus’ greatest at any time in the next 200 years. In the city itself, coverage will reach 99.88%, and one wouldn’t have to go very far northwest to see 100%.
https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/columbus?iso=20240408

After 2024, there are no eclipses that reach even 75% coverage until June 11, 2048, and none 80% or higher until May 11, 2078, and none over 90% until July 23, 2093. So enjoy today’s and the one 7 years from now, because after that, you’ll be waiting a very long time for another.