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Top Eclipse Facts

  1. Depending on the geometry of the Sun, Moon, and Earth, there can be between 2 and 5 solar eclipses each year.
  2. Totality occurs when the Moon completely obscures Sun so only the solar corona is showing.
  3. A total solar eclipse can happen once every 1-2 years. This makes them very rare events.
  4. If you lived at the North or South Pole, you would see only partial solar eclipses. People in other parts of the world can see partial, total, annular, and hybrid eclipses.
  5. The longest a total solar eclipse can last is 7.5 minutes.
  6. The width of the path of totality is usually about 160 km across and can sweep across an area of Earth’s surface about 10,000 miles long.
  7. Almost identical eclipses occur after 18 years and 11 days. This period of 223 synodic months is called a saros.
  8. During a total solar eclipse, conditions in the path of totality can change quickly. Air temperatures drop and the immediate area becomes dark.
  9. If any planets are in the sky at the time of a total solar eclipse, they can be seen as points of light.