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On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


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Two solar eclipses coming to the U.S. next year

The next eclipses to cross the U.S.
Map by Michael Zeiler ( Click for original.

The U.S. public will get to see two different solar eclipses during a six month period, starting one year from today.

The map to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, shows the dates and the path of both eclipses.

On 14 October 2023, anyone under clear skies within a path that sweeps from Oregon to Texas and then through parts of Central and South America will see an annular (“ring”) eclipse. Just six months later, on 8 April 2024, a total solar eclipse will sweep from Mexico to Texas to the Canadian Maritimes, plunging day into night and revealing the magnificent solar corona for anyone fortunate to be within the path of totality and under clear skies. Nearly everyone in North America will have a partial solar eclipse both days.

As always with eclipses, great care must be taken to watch it. With the 2017 eclipse Diane and I had good filters, but even so I noticed my eyes were very tired for several days afterward.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • I live in the path of both of those eclipses. Where their centerlines cross is just 10 or 15 miles from my house. The 2024 event will be interesting, as they anticipate over 50,000 people coming into Bandera County, Texas. That is over twice the current population of the county.

    Maybe I should open a refreshment stand on my road. Or lease sitting spots in the front of my acreage.

  • David Ross

    Annulars aren’t worth leaving town for.
    I got to see the total in Torrington WY in ’17. Totally worth the wait and drive. I don’t know if I’ll bother with the ’24.

  • David Ross

    BillB: ’17 was something that Obama-era USG in general should have planned for and did not. (Colorado is California-tier passive-aggressive at roadwork but since the problem is interstates, I’m hitting the Feds on that issue.)
    I planned ahead – I hit the I-25 in the middle of the night and drove back by way of NE, returning on the I-70. But lots of motorists just did I-25 both ways like idiots.
    I’ll give credit to Torrington. The town did expect an influx and performed well for us. Although if you wanted, like, food then you had to bring it in. Bandera needs to call in the food trucks.


    Bill B… I’m a volunteer with my county EMA. Almost down the center of the 2024 event. We are near three interstates, thus easily accessible. We have been warned to expect traffic jams, cell tower overloads, possible food and fuel shortages. Wherever we are during the event, be prepared for being there for a couple days and supplied.

  • Gary M.

    Campsite already booked in Arkansas for 2024.

  • pawn

    Sadly, the weather may not cooperate. Best chance is costal Mexico.

    Mazatlan ought to be lit!

  • John

    Behind the Black gathering at BillB’s, everyone’s invited!

    The last total eclipse was something I’ll not forget, and I’ll try to see 2024’s as well.

  • Concerned

    Pawn—the weather may cooperate, but what about the cartels? I’d rather take my chances with the weather in the good ole US of A.

  • David Ross, I-10 and I-35 run through the full eclipse path. Plus, there are some major US and Texas highways. All we need to do is stock up and sit tight.

    LTC SDS, I have contact with our local EMAs because of Amateur Radio. They are already planning for the large influx of visitors and the impact on the local infrastructure.

    John, you will have to bring the beer and the steaks.

  • Catch Thirty Thr33

    I have been looking forward to this since 1991 (San Antonio native here).

  • Several towns in Nova Scotia are in the path of totality.

    Who has the LearJet?

  • sippin_bourbon

    I am not going to worry about the weather until it is a lot closer…

    Several good locations are looking as good options.

  • pzatchok

    I so much want to move back to Texas.
    But family obligations require me to stay in Ohio.

  • BillB posited “Maybe I should open a refreshment stand on my road. Or lease sitting spots in the front of my acreage.”

    During the ’17 eclipse, a number of local rural property owners did exactly that. There were several folks selling bottled water. Of course, most folks just pulled over to the side of the road, which created it’s own problems. I believe it took me about three hours to drive the 40 miles back home. I wasn’t the only local that knew the back roads.

  • Lee S

    Hmmmmm…. I’m due to come into a sizable lump of cash in the coming months, and have the idea to take my kids on a “holiday of a lifetime”… All inclusive posh hotel, great weather, etc…

    Is there anywhere that ticks those boxes along the 2024 eclipse route? I’ve never seen a total eclipse, so that could add cherry’s to the icing!

    Any local advice appreciated!

  • pawn



    My group of young adventurers got clouded out at Cap Chat just a few minutes before totality. I don’t have many more chances to see a such a spectacle. Concerned people should always stay safe. It’s a lifestyle now.

  • Andi

    I still remember the one total eclipse I witnessed, on March 7, 1970. We drove down from Philadelphia through Delmarva to Norfolk, where we had about three minutes of totality. Definitely recommend it!

    Missed 2017 by about 300 miles. Had to work :(

  • LeeS:

    Go. My very first thought after seeing the ’17 event was “I want to see another one!”

  • TrebleC

    I was able to view totality in 2017 from my front porch. It was so amazing. I cried a little. I didn’t know how lucky I was until I spoke with people who live near me. Just a few miles away clouds obscured their view. I will never forget it. I am trying to make plans to view the next one.

  • I’d seen partial eclipses before. Interesting the first time but – eh.
    I saw the eclipse in August 2017, that had a totality about an hour and a 1/2 from my house. i told my husband I was taking the day off, and traveling.
    A totality is, according to a physicist I know, about 1,000 times as dark as being in the 99% area. Just NO comparison.
    It was awe-inspiring. I’m planning to dedicate the day to making sure that my kids and grands get to see it. I’m going to pack up my science probes (temp, light, and anything else I can think of), my radios, and food/drink for the day.
    The only problem will be if cloud coverage messes it up. For that, however, I figure we can travel south of Lake Erie and lessen the likelihood.
    I had a temp probe in the last one, and it dropped 13 degrees in just a couple of minutes during the totality.

  • Lee S

    Well, I’ve been doing my research, and I never thought I’d be planning vacations several years in advance, but everyone I’ve spoken to, heard from or read, tells me it’s worth it…. Even if I’m not around, it’s something to gift the kids…. #gonnamakethis happen…. Cheers folks!

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