How often do we get total solar eclipses?

How often do we get total solar eclipses?

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Total solar eclipses are a rare phenomenon. There can be years - sometimes decades - between each event.

Of course, a total solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, blocking the entire sun from view for a period of time.

As of 2017, the most recent total solar eclipse to occur in the United States was in the 1970s, according to NASA. There were actually two total solar eclipses in the 1970s.

You may remember the total solar eclipse that took place in early 1970 (pictured below). The path from the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Coast allowed millions of people to witness quite a show. The path of totality passed right over Norfolk, Virginia.

The next, and final total solar eclipse of the 20th century, occurred in 1979 (pictured below) along a narrow strip of the northwestern United States into central Canada. This total solar eclipse was actually obscured by cloud cover for viewers in that region. But, some spectacular sights were still taken in.

After that, the country would wait over 30 years for its next total solar eclipse. And it is set to happen on August 21, 2017. The 2017 total solar eclipse (pictured below) will take a path from Oregon all the way across the country to South Carolina. Areas to the north and south of that line will witness a partial solar eclipse, like here on the Gulf Coast.

Click here to read WLOX's complete article that's all about the 2017 total solar eclipse. It explains in detail what a solar eclipse is, where and when it will happen this year, and how to safely view 2017's eclipse.

The last time a total solar eclipse stretched from the Pacific U.S. coast to the Atlantic U.S. coast was in 1918.

In fact, before the 1970 total solar eclipse, there were nine other total solar eclipses witnessed in this country in the 20th century: 1963 (July 20), 1954 (June 30), 1945 (July 9), 1932 (August 31), 1930 (April 28), 1925 (January 24), 1923 (September 10), 1918 (June 8), and 1900 (May 28).

If you can't manage to view the 2017 total solar eclipse, don't worry. There's another one expected in the U.S. in just seven years. The path of the 2024 total solar eclipse (pictured below) will pass across Texas and head all the way to Maine.

And for those of us who will still be around, the following U.S. total solar eclipse is set to occur in the year 2045.

And check this out! Residents of the Gulf Coast should get pretty excited about the path of the 2045 total solar eclipse (pictured below). It will be the closest pass of a totality path the Mississippi Gulf Coast will have seen in over 100 years.

This means that it will be likely that areas near the Mississippi state capitol will see a 100% total solar eclipse and areas along the Mississippi Gulf Coast could see a near 100 percent solar eclipse.

It's safe to say that the 2045 total solar eclipse has the potential to be the most impressive eclipse that South Mississippi will have seen in over a century.

So, if you're young enough, at least you have a few opportunities to view a total solar eclipse in the U.S. within the next 50 years.

"If the weather doesn't completely interrupt the view, these events are so rare and put on such a spectacle that they are almost always worth going out of your way to see," said WLOX First Alert Meteorologist Wesley Williams. "I've heard accounts of people who witnessed total solar eclipses and they say there is nothing like it when the sky darkens suddenly once over 90 percent of the sun is blocked. Animals behave strangely, large crowds observing the event will either hush or cheer, and an eerie glow on the horizon appears, unlike any sunrise or sunset due to the position and angle of the sun in the sky."

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