Eclipse enthusiasts should stake their claim to a patch of land in New Brunswick right now if they want the prime viewing experience of the next solar eclipse — even though it won't happen for another seven years.
Fredericton, Woodstock, and Miramichi will all experience 100 per cent totality, or a complete coverage of the sun by the moon, in 2024.
"We're going to be right smack in the middle," said David Seabrook, manager of tourism for the City of Fredericton. "We're going to have to do some planning to prepare for the large crowds."
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The most coverage experienced anywhere in Canada during Monday's eclipse was about 80 per cent, on Vancouver Island.
Another total solar eclipse will cross North America on April 8, 2024. Starting in Mexico, it will cross the continental United States before engulfing New Brunswick and moving onto Newfoundland.
The path of totality will cover Montreal for about a minute, but it will last more than three minutes in parts of New Brunswick, according to data from NASA and the eclipse-tracking website timeanddate.com.
Large crowds gathered in "search of totality" across the midwestern United States on Monday as people moved to the darkest areas to experience the eclipse. Seabrook said there's no reason to think people won't do the same in seven years.
"Look at what happened in the United States with some of the crowds that they got," said Seabrook. "In some states they had porta-potties along the highway."
Woodstock and Miramichi will spend the most time in the dark with totality durations of 3:17 and 3:09. Fredericton will experience about 2:21 minutes of totality. Moncton, Saint John and Bathurst will just miss out on experiencing a total technical blackout, but will still see 98 to 99 per cent of the sun disappear.
"Obviously it's a great opportunity for Fredericton and New Brunswick to get some great tourism business," said Seabrook. "We think it's going to be a grand event and we'll have one of the greatest viewing platforms in the universe."
After Monday's eclipse, Fredericton Mayor Mike O'Brien tweeted, "Next total eclipse in 2024 will pass directly over #Fredericton. Book your hotel rooms now — also need a special craft beer for the event."
Seabrook said tourism officials could capitalize on the attention to introduce New Brunswick to a whole new audience.
"People might come in for the day of the eclipse, and we have the opportunity to take that attention that will be on us from all over the world and extend it and tell our story about New Brunswick."