From Times Past To Times Future

We have described above what can be seen during a total solar eclipse and various past eclipses were mentioned in passing. With luck, this will have whetted your appetite and you'll be hungry to experience one yourself. So let us see what the future has in store for us.

Ancient sky watchers were able to predict the future—to some extent—using the tapestry of eclipses described in Chapter 3. There we presented two sketches covering all eclipses between 1900 and 2100: solar events in Figure 3-1, and lunar in Figure 3-2. Both types follow the same basic rules and so produce similar patterns. The short-term sequences of solar eclipses have greater

2002

2007

2012

2017

2022

FIGURE 15-5. Plotted here are the dates for all solar eclipses due between 2002 and 2022. Solid circles represent total eclipses, open circles annular eclipses, and black diamonds hybrid events (part annular/part total). Partial eclipses are shown as squares.

numbers of members than the lunar because the ecliptic limits (see the Appendix) are more stringent for the latter.

Now we require a more detailed view, to show the eclipses due over the next two decades. By extracting the pertinent data and plotting them again, in a slightly different way, Figures 15-5 and 15-6 result. Those plots in hand, let us see what the heavens have in store for the eclipse watcher.

FIGURE 15-5. Plotted here are the dates for all solar eclipses due between 2002 and 2022. Solid circles represent total eclipses, open circles annular eclipses, and black diamonds hybrid events (part annular/part total). Partial eclipses are shown as squares.

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2007

2012

2017

2022

FIGURE 15-6. Lunar eclipses due between 2002 and 2022. Solid triangles represent total eclipses, open symbols are partial events. Only umbral eclipses are charted; over this period 19 penumbral eclipses will occur, but they are of little interest.

Telescopes Mastery

Telescopes Mastery

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