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Lunar Eclipses
Solar Eclipses

How long does an eclipse last?

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2012-10-11 06:50:06
2012-10-11 06:50:06

Lunar Eclipses:

The time of a total lunar eclipse can last an hour or more, with the partial phases adding as much as another two to three hours. For example, the total eclipse of the Moon on Feb. 20-21, 2008, lasted a little less than three and a half hours from the beginning of the partial phase, through the totality, to the end of the partial phase. Totality in this case was about 50 minutes.

The duration depends on whether the Moon passes through the center of the Earth's shadow, and the distance between the Moon and Earth at the time (which affects the size of Earth's shadow). Lunar eclipses are more frequently seen because everyone on the night time half of the Earth are in position to view a lunar eclipse.

Solar Eclipses:

For a solar eclipse, the maximum theoretical duration is 7 minutes, 40 seconds (some believe 7 minutes, 31 seconds), but in any case, the maximum duration can only occur, or be observed at the equator.

The partial phases add considerably more time, so that the entire eclipse, seen from any given location, can last several hours. However, the partial phases of a total solar eclipse are much less noticeable to the ordinary observer, and might be missed entirely.

Related information:

Total solar eclipses from any given location are more rare than total lunar eclipses (about once every 360 years, on average) because observers must be located along a specific path on the Earth (where the Moon's shadow falls).

There were two solar eclipses in 2008, and two in 2009. Far fewer people in general will view solar eclipses than the lunar eclipses due to the restrictions mentioned above.

The shortest total solar eclipse for the period, 2,000 BCE to 3,000 CE was in the year 919 CE. It lasted for 9 seconds.

The rate of occurrence for total eclipses of 7 minutes or longer, is 10 per millennium, or an average of one for every 100 years. The last occurred 6/20/1955 (7 minutes, 8 seconds). The next, 231 years from the last, will occur 7/16/2186 and have a duration of (7 minutes, 29 seconds). This will be the longest, stationary observation of a total solar eclipse.

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Related Questions


How long can a total eclipse of the sun last


the last lunar eclipse in California was a long time ago.


A solar eclipse lasts about 15 minutes


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It can last anywhere from 6 minutes to 10, but usually it is about 8.


Just as long or longer as any other engine as long as they're taken care of.


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a lunar eclipse can last about half an hour


The longest one has ever lasted is 1 day.


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