Eclipses of the Sun can only occur during the New Moon phase. It is then possible for the Moon's penumbral, umbral or antumbral shadows to sweep across Earth's surface thereby producing an eclipse. Not all New Moons result in a solar eclipse because the Moon's orbit is tilted about 5 degrees to Earth's about the Sun. Consequently, the Moon's shadows miss Earth at most New Moon's. Nevertheless, there are 2 to 5 solar eclipses every calendar year. There are four types of solar eclipses: partial, annular, total and hybrid. For more information, see Basic Solar Eclipse Geometry.
During the ten millennium period -3999 to 6000 (4000 BCE to 6000 CE), Earth will experience 23,740 solar eclipses as follows:
|Solar Eclipses: -3999 - 6000|
Annular and total eclipses can be further classified as either: 1) Central (two limits), 2) Central (one limit) or 3) Non-Central (one limit). The statistical distribution of these classes during the 60th century CE appears in the following three tables (no Hybrids are included since all are central with two limits).
|Annular and Total Eclipses|
|Central (two limits)||13851||97.5%|
|Central (one limit)||180||1.3%|
|Non-Central (one limit)||176||1.2%|
|All Annular Eclipses||7881||100.0%|
|Central (two limits)||7621||96.7%|
|Central (one limit)||131||1.7%|
|Non-Central (one limit)||129||1.6%|
|All Total Eclipses||6326||100.0%|
|Central (two limits)||6230||98.5%|
|Central (one limit)||49||0.8%|
|Non-Central (one limit)||47||0.7%|
The longest central solar eclipses of this period are:
Longest Total Solar Eclipse: 2186 Jul 16 Duration = 07m29s Longest Annular Solar Eclipse: 0150 Dec 07 Duration = 12m24s Longest Hybrid Solar Eclipse: -0979 Aug 12 Duration = 01m49s
The following catalogs contain predictions for the longest total, annular and hybrid solar eclipses occurring during the ten millennium period -3999 to 6000 (4000 BCE to 6000 CE). The longest eclipses during this period are arranged into 1000 year long tables for total, annular and hybrid solar eclipses. For total eclipses, all events are listed with durations exceeding 6 minutes. For annular eclipses, all events are listed with durations exceeding 10 minutes. For hybrid eclipses, all events are listed with durations exceeding 1 minute. There are also three special tables listing the very longest total (> 7 minutes), annular (>11 minutes) and hybrid (>1 minute 30 seconds) eclipses. Each table includes the following information.
The Key to Catalog of Solar Eclipses contains a detailed description and explanation of each item listed in the catalogs. For eclipses from -1999 to +3000, the Catalog Number in the first column serves as a link to a global map of Earth showing the geographic visibility of each eclipse. The date and time of the eclipse are given at the instant of greatest eclipse in Terrestrial Dynamical Time. The Saros Number in the sixth column links to a table listing all eclipses in the Saros series. The Key to Solar Eclipse Maps explains the features plotted on each map.
The data presented here are based on the Five Millennium Canon of Solar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000.
 Hybrid eclipses are also known as annular/total eclipses. Such an eclipse is both total and annular along different sections of its umbral path. (See: Six Millennium Catalog of Hybrid Solar Eclipses)
 Central solar eclipses are eclipses in which the central axis of the Moon's shadow strikes the Earth's surface. All partial (penumbral) eclipses are non-central eclipses since the shadow axis misses Earth. However, umbral eclipses (total, annular and hybrid) may be either central (usually) or non-central (rarely).
 Greatest eclipse is defined as the instant when the axis of the Moon's shadow passes closest to the Earth's center. For total eclipses, the instant of greatest eclipse is virtually identical to the instants of greatest magnitude and greatest duration. However, for annular eclipses, the instant of greatest duration may occur at either the time of greatest eclipse or near the sunrise and sunset points of the eclipse path.
The Gregorian calendar is used for all dates from 1582 Oct 15 onwards. Before that date, the Julian calendar is used. For more information on this topic, see Calendar Dates. The Julian calendar does not include the year 0. Thus the year 1 BCE is followed by the year 1 CE (See: BCE/CE Dating Conventions ). This is awkward for arithmetic calculations. Years in this catalog are numbered astronomically and include the year 0. Historians should note there is a difference of one year between astronomical dates and BCE dates. Thus, the astronomical year 0 corresponds to 1 BCE, and astronomical year -1 corresponds to 2 BCE, etc..
The coordinates of the Sun used in these predictions are based on the VSOP87 theory [Bretagnon and Francou, 1988]. The Moon's coordinates are based on the ELP-2000/82 theory [Chapront-Touze and Chapront, 1983]. For more information, see: Solar and Lunar Ephemerides. The revised value used for the Moon's secular acceleration is n-dot = -25.858 arc-sec/cy*cy, as deduced from the Apollo lunar laser ranging experiment (Chapront, Chapront-Touze, and Francou, 2002).
The largest uncertainty in the eclipse predictions is caused by fluctuations in Earth's rotation due primarily to tidal friction of the Moon. The resultant drift in apparent clock time is expressed as ΔT and is determined as follows:
A series of polynomial expressions have been derived to simplify the evaluation of ΔT for any time from -1999 to +3000. The uncertainty in ΔT over this period can be estimated from scatter in the measurements.
The Besselian elements used in the predictions were kindly provided by Jean Meeus. All eclipse calculations are by Fred Espenak, and he assumes full responsibility for their accuracy. Some of the information presented on this web site is based on data originally published in Five Millennium Canon of Solar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000
Permission is freely granted to reproduce this data when accompanied by an acknowledgment:
"Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak and Jean Meeus (NASA's GSFC)"