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Top Eclipse Facts
- Depending on the geometry of the Sun, Moon, and Earth, there can be between 2 and 5 solar eclipses each year.
- Totality occurs when the Moon completely obscures Sun so only the solar corona is showing.
- A total solar eclipse can happen once every 1-2 years. This makes them very rare events.
- 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.
- The longest a total solar eclipse can last is 7.5 minutes.
- 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.
- Almost identical eclipses occur after 18 years and 11 days. This period of 223 synodic months is called a saros.
- During a total solar eclipse, conditions in the path of totality can change quickly. Air temperatures drop and the immediate area becomes dark.
- If any planets are in the sky at the time of a total solar eclipse, they can be seen as points of light.