In 2033, rural Alaska will get its own total solar eclipse

As the Great American Eclipse darkened the skies across the U.S. on Monday, many Alaskans were snapping photos … of clouds blocking the view.

So, can we have a do-over? Yup – in 16 years.

On March 30, 2033, a total solar eclipse will pass over Western and Northern Alaska and Eastern Russia. Nome, Kotzebue, Utqiaġvik and Deadhorse will fall under the path of totality, in which the sun is completely blocked by the moon.

In Nome, the eclipse will peak at 9:47 a.m.

A total solar eclipse brings interesting visual effects not visible during a partial eclipse, said University of Alaska Anchorage astronomer Travis Rector, such as making the sun's corona, or outer atmosphere, visible to us.

In Fairbanks, Anchorage and most other areas of Alaska, a partial eclipse will block out more than 95 percent of the sun.

Bethel just misses the path of totality. But even though the moon will block out 99.8 percent of the sun there, people will miss out on seeing the corona and other effects.


How cruel!

"That's just physics," Rector said.

In 2024, a total eclipse will pass over Mexico and the eastern U.S. But most of Alaska will miss even a partial eclipse.

Eclipse chasers may face unique challenges in viewing the 2033 Alaska eclipse. Rural communities have limited lodging and other infrastructure. And Western Alaska isn't known for pleasant March weather.

The Nome Convention and Visitors Bureau hasn't been fielding any inquiries about the event yet, said Leon Boardway, who had just heard about the eclipse last week.

But he was happy to hear that the eclipse would be happening soon after the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which finishes in Nome.

"After Iditarod, I'll just say, hey, stick around for the eclipse," Boardway said.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.