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There won't always be total solar eclipses

Posted on Monday, 21 August, 2017 | Comment icon 9 comments

Be sure not to look directly at the Sun without eye protection. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Takeshi Kuboki
One day, the Moon will have moved so far away that a total solar eclipse will no longer be possible.
Millions of people across the United States are preparing to watch today's total solar eclipse - a relatively rare event that will see the Moon moving in front of the Sun, blocking it out completely.

Total eclipses occur because the Sun, despite being 400 times larger than the Moon, just happens to be situated 400 times further way, meaning that both appear to be the same size in the sky.

As it happens though, the Moon is actually moving away from our planet, slowly but surely, meaning that one day in the distant future this perfect alignment will no longer be possible.

On the plus side however it is estimated that, due to how slowly the Moon is receding from the Earth, this won't actually happen for another 500 million to 1 billion years.

Source: Mashable | Comments (9)

Tags: Total Solar Eclipse

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by seanjo on 21 August, 2017, 12:32
And they are able to measure the distance of the Moon so accurately with lasers, because of the reflectors placed there during the Apollo missions.
Comment icon #2 Posted by EBE Hybrid on 21 August, 2017, 18:15
I struggle to accept that there may be a God because of the terrible things that happen to people. But the fact that the Moon is just the right size and distance from the Earth to just perfectly eclpise the Sun.....It's difficult not to wonder if some kind of design and planning played a part in it all
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer on 21 August, 2017, 19:04
I've always said that we're (insert deity here) ants in a huge ant farm.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Sir Smoke aLot on 22 August, 2017, 12:17
Terrible things do happen to people but it's other people who make them suffer, not animals, not gods, not aliens... When you look at it, human kind is alienon this planet, our place in the wild would be lost, we would perishif we had not advanced in tool making etc while any other life form on this planet has natural means of fighting for survival, we do it with tools. Then, how many living beings, which haven't even seen the sunlight in their short lives, how many of themare slaughtered every day in food industry, in clothing industry... Money has become central part of our lives and, as ... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by EBE Hybrid on 22 August, 2017, 16:42
We inhabit a wonderous universe and live on a perfectlycrafted planet. If we are Gods children I can't understand why God allows us to commit such brutal acts against ourselves and this beautiful world. Maybe God saw the way his children grew into what we are and decided to turn his back on us
Comment icon #6 Posted by bmk1245 on 22 August, 2017, 17:04
Can we, please, stay on topic. Please, guys/girls, move religious/metaphysical stuff elsewhere. Me, personally, I'd love to see solar eclipse back one or two billionyears ago. That would've been really scary. Moon was way more closer to the Earth back then - ultimate eclipse.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Sundew on 23 August, 2017, 1:58
It is my understanding that we are the only planet in the solar system that CAN have a total solar eclipse based on the diameter of the moon and the distance to the sun, causing both toappear nearly identical in size when viewed from the earth. But since the sun would appearsmaller the farther out into the solar system you go, perhaps one of the other planet's moons could cover the disc of the sun as it appears on that planet. I realize it's just mathematics, but it still amazes me that they can predict these events with so much accuracy. We have a written history and scientific knowledge o... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by EBE Hybrid on 24 August, 2017, 19:52
That is a very good question, does anyone on UM have an answer
Comment icon #9 Posted by The Silver Thong on 25 August, 2017, 2:37
because the moon is slowly moving away from earth.

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