Interesting Eclipse Facts
A collection of weird and wonderful facts about eclipses.
(Small World Journeys wishes to send a big thanks to Michael Aisner www.eclipsefreaks.com for picking up an error that was previously on this page)
• The sun's diameter is 400 times that of the moon's diameter. It is also a coincidence that the sun is 400 times further from earth than the moon. Hence the sun and the moon appear to be the same size in the sky.
• The last total eclipse in North Queensland was in 1847, and it passed through Cooktown and Kowanyama. In 1737 it passed through Normanton and Ingham and the last total solar eclipse in Cairns was in 710 AD, so November 14, 2012, is certainly cause for celebration. The next one visible from Cairns will be in April, 2237, so if you're not feeling too sprightly, this could be your last opportunity to marvel at this wonder of nature. http://www.cairns.com.au/article/2011/11/14/191261_lifestyle.html
• It's no wonder that in ancient times the drama of the sun suddenly disappearing was seen as ominous, bringing with it likely portents of doom and wrath from the gods.
• Historians have used recorded eclipses to help date past events. This is quite handy, as it serves as a starting point to date other events in that society's history.
• Once a total solar eclipse stopped a battle that had gone on for years between the Medians and the Lydians, about 585 BC - they supposedly dropped their weapons and made a peace treaty.
http://www.cairns.com.au/article/2011/11/14/191261_lifestyle.html (same as above)
• After the 2012 Cairns eclipse, the next opportunity to see a total eclipse in Australia is from remote Exmouth, W.A. in 2023. In July 2028, a total eclipse will cross the whole continent starting in the Kimberley crossing many regional towns and centres and finally being visible across Sydney.
• There are at least 2 and at most 5 solar eclipses per year.
• The maximum time for any total solar eclipse is 7 minutes and 40 seconds.
• The maximum time for an annular solar eclipse is 12 minutes 24 seconds.
• A solar eclipse always occurs two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse.
• Lunar eclipses can only occur during a full moon.
• Solar eclipses can only occur during a new moon.
• The eclipse shadow moves at 3219 kph (2000 mph) at the Earth's poles and 1609 kph (1,000 mph) at the Earth's equator.
• The maximum width of the path (umbra) from any total solar eclipse is 269 km wide (167 miles)
Have you ever looked up at the moon and thought "the moon looks big tonight". The orbit of the moon is an eclipse which brings the moon closer or further to earth. (click on images for bigger size)
The difference in the size moon between Apogee and Perigee.
To explain why we have 'eclipse seasons' see the interactive animation below. Pretend that you are looking from the sun. This shows the effect of the moons 5° angle on whether the moon's shadow misses or hits the Earth.