Why Total Solar Eclipses Will Become Far More Rare in the Future

Henry Reich of MinutePhysics explained how a solar eclipse is a rare and beautiful thing that is going to become far more rare in the future. This is due to the changing proximity of the Earth to the Moon over the course of millions of years.

Up until around 700 million years ago, the moon was close enough to the earth that   it always appeared larger than the sun and we only ever saw total solar eclipses. But around then, the moon finally moved far enough away from us that – at least during certain parts of   the earth’ and moon’s orbits – the moon  appeared smaller than the sun in the sky.  

This means that the further the Earth travels from the moon, the less likely a total solar eclipse will occur. Instead, we will probably see more Annular eclipses where the moon appears smaller than the sun than total eclipses from this point on.

But here’s a sad fact: we have on average more annular eclipses than total eclipses. And that is why we are currently past the peak of the earth’s golden age of eclipses.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.