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Total solar eclipse  

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE 

Context: A total solar eclipse will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. This type of solar eclipse is a rare event for any particular spot.

  • According to Royal Museums Greenwich, once a place on Earth witnesses a total solar eclipse, it will be about 400 years before that part sees the next one.
  • A total solar eclipse is a rare event because it occurs when the Moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow on the Earth’s surface.
  • Total solar eclipses are infrequent because the Moon’s orbit is tilted with respect to the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, causing the Moon’s shadow to usually pass above or below the Earth.
  • Additionally, the umbra, or the darkest part of the Moon’s shadow where a total eclipse is visible, covers only a small portion of the Earth’s surface during each event.

 

Consequently, a specific location on Earth may witness a total solar eclipse only once every 400 years.