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Eclipse 2024: Annular vs. Total Eclipse

todayJanuary 4, 2024 2

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With the eclipse set for April 8, 2024 getting closer, it’s important to understand exactly what we’re going to be seeing in Rochester and across the country. Specifically the idea that we’re going to see a TOTAL eclipse of the sun and not an annular, or even a partial eclipse.

All eclipses occur as the result of the moon passing in front of the sun in it’s orbit. The type of eclipse though depends on where the moon is in its orbit around the Earth. It’s important to remember that the moons orbit isn’t perfectly round, its an elliptical orbit where at points the moon is closer or further from the Earth which can change the perceived size of the moon from our perspective on the ground.

This perceived change in size is key to how we view an eclipse. When the moon is at or near its closest point to the Earth, also known as it’s perigee, it appears it’s largest from our perspective. During this time period is the only time a total eclipse can happen since the moon is now able to completely obscure the sun from our view on the ground.

A general idea of what a total eclipse would look like from the ground

When the moon is further from the Earth or closer to it’s apogee, or the furthest point from the Earth in the moons orbit, it no longer appears as large as the sun, and can only partially obscure it. When this happens it is referred to as an annular eclipse, the partial coverage of the sun also provides the ring of fire effect seen during these events.

A general idea of what an annular eclipse would look like from the ground

Totality adds a level of rarity, and ominousness to this event that makes it a bit more special, though any opportunity to see an eclipse of any amount is spectacular this is a step above the rest. Say for example you picked a random point on the Earth, according to NASA on average that point would see an annular eclipse every 244 years, while only every 375 years would this point see a total eclipse.

That said, the last time Rochester was in the path of totality of a total solar eclipse was on January 24, 1925, just over 99 years ago. After 2024’s total eclipse, the next time Rochester will be in the path of totality for an eclipse will be in 2144, or 120 years from now. While Rochester may seem like an eclipse “hot spot”, coincidence is sometimes a funny thing in science.

​ ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With the eclipse set for April 8, 2024 getting closer, it’s important to understand exactly what we’re going to be seeing in Rochester and across the country. Specifically the idea that we’re going to see a TOTAL eclipse of the sun and not an annular, or even a partial eclipse.

All eclipses occur as the result of the moon passing in front of the sun in it’s orbit. The type of eclipse though depends on where the moon is in its orbit around the Earth. It’s important to remember that the moons orbit isn’t perfectly round, its an elliptical orbit where at points the moon is closer or further from the Earth which can change the perceived size of the moon from our perspective on the ground.

This perceived change in size is key to how we view an eclipse. When the moon is at or near its closest point to the Earth, also known as it’s perigee, it appears it’s largest from our perspective. During this time period is the only time a total eclipse can happen since the moon is now able to completely obscure the sun from our view on the ground.

A general idea of what a total eclipse would look like from the ground

When the moon is further from the Earth or closer to it’s apogee, or the furthest point from the Earth in the moons orbit, it no longer appears as large as the sun, and can only partially obscure it. When this happens it is referred to as an annular eclipse, the partial coverage of the sun also provides the ring of fire effect seen during these events.

A general idea of what an annular eclipse would look like from the ground

Totality adds a level of rarity, and ominousness to this event that makes it a bit more special, though any opportunity to see an eclipse of any amount is spectacular this is a step above the rest. Say for example you picked a random point on the Earth, according to NASA on average that point would see an annular eclipse every 244 years, while only every 375 years would this point see a total eclipse.

That said, the last time Rochester was in the path of totality of a total solar eclipse was on January 24, 1925, just over 99 years ago. After 2024’s total eclipse, the next time Rochester will be in the path of totality for an eclipse will be in 2144, or 120 years from now. While Rochester may seem like an eclipse “hot spot”, coincidence is sometimes a funny thing in science. Read More Eclipse 2024RochesterFirst  

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