How Often Do Solar Eclipses Occur?

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Millions of people across the United States will get to experience the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017. There are several states from South Carolina to Oregon that are in the direct path of the moon as it crosses in front of the sun and blocks the light from the earth. This is called the “zone of totality” and refers to the areas that will experience complete darkness as part of this eclipse. Several other areas in the United States will get to see a partial eclipse.

Below are the various phases of a total solar eclipse.

“About 10 to 12 million people live along the 70-mile-wide “path of totality” of the umbra that stretches across the US, and another 18 million people are within easy driving distance of it. Another 500 million people will be able to view a partial eclipse from the rest of the US, Canada, Mexico, parts of South America, and northwestern Europe,” reports Buzzfeed.

In a calendar year, it’s fairly common to have two solar eclipses — some years, there can be up to five solar eclipses in one year. The total solar eclipse slated for Monday has been called a “once in a lifetime” event, which is confusing if there are indeed more than one of these events each year. So, what gives?

According to the website Time and Date, it takes approximately 375 years for a total solar eclipse to occur again in the exact same location. This means, of course, that humans will only see one of these events once during their lives. However, if a person was willing to travel the globe, it is possible to see a total solar eclipse more than once.

“Approximately once every 18 months (on average) a total solar eclipse is visible from some place on the Earth’s surface,” reports Space.com. The map below shows total solar eclipse paths that will occur in the coming years across the southeastern United States.

The below photo shows addition total solar eclipse paths that will occur all over the world in the coming years.

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