100 Days Until Totality! 97 Days Left – How Often Do Total Solar Eclipses Occur?

Credit: NASA https://www.nasa.gov

Contrary to popular belief, solar eclipses actually happen pretty frequently. On average there is a solar eclipse somewhere on the Earth about every 18 months. Solar eclipses also can only occur during a new Moon, when the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun. Although solar eclipses are frequent, the small size of the Moon’s shadow (umbra) means that eclipses are only visible on small areas of the planet. However, due to the Earth and Moon not having perfectly circular orbits, not every solar eclipse is a total solar eclipse. Later on we will discuss the different types of eclipses and the conditions required for them to occur.

These conditions make a total eclipse occurring in the same spot a pretty rare phenomenon, happening on average about every 360 years. As this is just an average, some places are lucky enough to have eclipses much more frequently. The coast of Angola experienced two total solar eclipses in fewer than 18 months. The next time the Jackson region will experience a total solar eclipse will be in October of 2395. Seeing the total eclipse in Jackson this year is going to (literally) be a once in a lifetime experience!

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