5 Millennia of Solar Eclipses

Interactive viz:

When darkness falls


#Makeovermonday dataset wk 34 2017 – picked up on the hype surrounding the Solar Eclipse happening in the US (during the wk of  21st Aug 2017) where A total eclipse of the Sun occurred on Monday 21 August, 2017 UT, lasting from 15:46–21:04 UT.

A dramatic total eclipse plunged the Sun into darkness for 2 minutes and 40 seconds at maximum, creating an amazing spectacle for observers in a path up to 115 km wide. It was seen across the central US. The partial eclipse was visible from the whole of North America, northern South America, and western Europe and Africa – data around this can be found here.

The Makeovermonday dataset sourced 5 Millennia of Solar Eclipse data 2001-2020 AD, and covered date info, eclipse type, category, duration in seconds. eclipse magnitude, gamma. lat, long and sun altitude. There were a plethora of beautiful vizzes that made it to twitter “Eclipse #Makeovermonday” but I felt within the time frame I had and the skills that I possess, I wasn’t going to attempt anything too out of this world!

For this viz I went digging for some interesting info, included a few BANS (Big Ass Numbers) and implemented Pooja’s neat box trick.


Well first off I learned that there are four types of eclipse:

  • total eclipse occurs when the dark silhouette of the Moon completely obscures the intensely bright light of the Sun, allowing the much fainter solar corona to be visible. During any one eclipse, totality occurs at best only in a narrow track on the surface of Earth.[5]
  • An annular eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line with the Earth, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the dark disk of the Moon.[6]
  • hybrid eclipse (also called annular/total eclipse) shifts between a total and annular eclipse. At certain points on the surface of Earth, it appears as a total eclipse, whereas at other points it appears as annular. Hybrid eclipses are comparatively rare.[6]
  • partial eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are not exactly in line with the Earth and the Moon only partially obscures the Sun.

But based on the data provided for #Makeovermonday my key takeaways this week have been:

  • In 5 Millennia (2001-2020 AD) there have been a grand total of 11,898 solar eclipses
  • Most of these have been Partial, accounting for 35% of all eclipses
  • Total eclipses have been experienced some 3,173 times and make up 27% of all eclipses.
  • The Earth has been plunged into darkness for some 21 days in total due to Hybrid/Annular and Total Eclipses over the last 5 millennia…..






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