How Often Do Solar Eclipses Occur?

Solar eclipses occur anywhere two to five times each calendar year. For a solar eclipse to occur, the Moon must pass in between the Earth and the Sun during a phase known as a new moon. Five solar eclipses in a single year are extremely rare; the most recent year with five of these eclipses was 1935. This phenomenon is not expected to occur again until 2206.

More facts about eclipses:

  • In addition to the solar eclipse, there is a phenomenon known as a lunar eclipse. This occurs when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun, blocking the Sun’s light from the surface of the Moon. When this type of eclipse occurs, it can be seen from just about anywhere on Earth.

  • There are four types of eclipses that occur. With a total eclipse, the Sun is completely blocked by the Moon, except for the Sun’s corona. An annular eclipse has the Sun and Moon in perfect alignment, but the position of the Moon makes it appear much smaller than the Sun. The effect is that the Sun looks somewhat like a large ring in the sky. A hybrid eclipse is a midpoint between an annular and total eclipse, and the partial eclipse is a phenomenon in which the Moon does not completely block the Sun.

  • The last total eclipse is projected to occur in roughly 600 million years. Due to the slight shift in the movement of the Moon each year, that is how long it will take before the perfect alignment between Earth, Moon and Sun can no longer take place and cause a total eclipse of the Sun.

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