Solar Eclipse

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Solar Eclipse

Families can be hard to predict. An exception is families of eclipses. Astronomers can predict them centuries in advance — down to the second.

An example is a partial solar eclipse that will be visible across parts of the eastern hemisphere early tomorrow. The Moon will cover about 82 percent of the Sun’s disk, lowering temperatures and making the sky look a little dusky.

The eclipse is part of a family called Saros 124. It’s a sequence of eclipses that are all related.

The sequence is playing out in a predictable, orderly fashion. It began with a partial eclipse in the year 1049 that was visible across the Antarctic. Over the centuries, the eclipse path has moved slowly northward. From 1211 to 1968, the series included total eclipses, with the Moon completely covering the Sun. Now, we’re back to partial eclipses.

This is eclipse number 55 in the cycle. It’ll be visible across parts of Europe, northeastern Africa, and western Asia. It begins shortly before 4 a.m. Central Time, reaches its peak at 6, and ends about 8.

After this, the eclipses of Saros 124 will continue to move northward. The final eclipse in the cycle will take place on May 11th, 2347 — the last act of a predictable family.

Incidentally, a solar eclipse takes place two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse. In this case, there’ll be an eclipse on the night of November 7th, which will be visible across most of the United States.

Script by Damond Benningfield

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