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# How often is a total eclipse? (Serious)?

How often does a total eclipse with the sun and moon happen?
I missed the last one by a few years and wanted to know when the next one was.
Does it vary if you live in a different country?
Thanks
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If the Moon's inner or umbral shadow sweeps across Earth's surface, then a total eclipse of the Sun is seen. The track of the Moon's umbral shadow across Earth is called the Path of Totality. It is typically 10,000 miles long but only about 100 miles wide. It covers less than 1% of Earth's entire surface area. In order to see the Sun become completely eclipsed by the Moon, you must be somewhere inside the narrow path of totality.

The path of a total eclipse can cross any part of Earth. Even the North and South Poles get a total eclipse sooner or later. Just one total eclipse occurs each year or two. Since each total eclipse is only visible from a very narrow track, it is rare to see one from any single location. You'd have to wait an average of 375 years to see two total eclipses from one place. Of course, the interval between seeing two eclipses from one particular place can be shorter or longer. For instance, the last total eclipse visible from Princeton, NJ was in 1478 and the next is in 2079. That's an interval of 601 years. However, the following total eclipse from Princeton is in 2144, after a period of only 65 years.

### Source(s):

www.mreclipse.com/Special/SEprimer.html
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Thanks, site refernces would have been fine though

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This question about "How often is a total… " was originally asked on Yahoo Answers United Kingdom

• by DavidK93
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Each total solar eclipse is visible only in a narrow (and sometimes short) path across the face of the Earth. So although a total eclipse occurs somewhere on Earth about once every 18 months, an average of 370 years passes between solar eclipses at a given place on the planet.

On the other hand, a total lunar eclipse is visible anywhere that the Moon itself is visible, and they are much more frequent; total lunar eclipses occur on a more or less yearly basis.

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• by Mhael
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December 27, 2008
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I'm not sure if it's something that can be estimated, but each eclipse is only visible in a relatively small area of the world. The last total eclipse in this country was only partial for the county I lived in.

In fact, the sky darkened slightly and it gave an incredibly eerie feel to the proceedings. Like a horror film or something.
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• Member since:
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Well it largely varies. Sometimes Total Solar Eclipses will happen in a certain place every 50 years and some will be over 100 years. Solar Eclipses won't happen under 20 years.

Lunar Eclipses on the other hand happen more often, (but they still vary largely).

Some people even travel to see Eclipses.

Solar Eclipse:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclip…

Lunar Eclipse:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_eclip…

Solar Eclipse Calculator:
http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/Sol…

Lunar Eclipse Calculator:
http://www.dacre.net/moon/selecteclip.ht…
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• by Tina L
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April 18, 2008
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there are at least two solar eclipses and two lunar eclipses every year. however, they may only be partial, and they may not be visible from your location.

there are total solar eclipses in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 (hybrid), 2015, 2016 and 2017.

i saw the total eclipse in 2006 from turkey. i am hoping to see the 2010 eclipse from the south pacific.
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• Member since:
April 26, 2007
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The Moon is too small and/or too far away from the Earth to completely block the Sun. The best you can hope for is a perfectly centered solar eclipse, where only the Sun's corona is visible.

I suggest checking here for future solar eclipses:
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.htm…
• by Cirric
Member since:
June 17, 2006
Total points:
77,102 (Level 7)
Hi There are two types, solar and lunar. A total solar eclipse at any particular point on Earth is quite rare but total lunar eclipses are more common. Here is some info from NASA http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEpubs/bull…
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• by Joanne
Member since:
February 26, 2007
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The next eclipse is in the U.S.A on July 22nd. :)
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