why eclipses are so rare


So if the sun is stationary from the perspective of the earth and the moon orbits the earth every 27 days then shouldn’t it be at an angle at which it’s in between the earth and the sun at least once a month, this would also work for it being behind the earth. So then why are lunar/solar eclipses so rare?

Sorry if it’s difficult to understand what I wrote but I couldn’t think of a better way to phrase my question.

In: 4

They aren’t rare. They happen about 4 or 5 times a year.


This shows where and when they happen.

What is rare is when it passes over a heavily populated area.

So I saw one in 2000(?) and may see another in my lifetime (living in the UK) 2080 I think?

First if all, yes, there is a total eclipse quite often. But these eclipses are usually at different locations on earth. The reason for this is that the moon is only just large enough to entirely cover the sun when it’s exactly in front of it. If the moon is just a few degrees off, you will have only a partial eclipse or no eclipse at all. So if you are in the United States, say NYC, the moon needs to be at an exact angle in front of the sun to cover it from your perspective. Often times it will pass close to the sun but not cover it and you won’t notice. At the same time though, for someone living in Brazil for example, the moon will be at an entirely different angle to the sun, maybe covering it there. No? Not in brazil either? Well try at the same time in Mexico, Canada, Chile, Columbia, etc.

If you check all the places on earth all the time, chances aren’t low you will see a total eclipse soon(ish).

The moon’s orbital plane is tilted compared to Earth’s orbital plane. This means that at the time of the month when the moon is between the Earth and the Sun (a new moon), it’s usually above or below Earth’s orbital plane, so it doesn’t cause an eclipse. The Moon does pass through Earth’s orbital plane during a new moon twice a year, so there are usually two solar eclipses every year.