Solar Eclipse Durations

Skywarn Youth: Did You Know

“Solar Eclipse Durations”

by Caleb, KE0FOE

Did you know that total solar eclipses last much longer near the equator than they do at higher latitudes?

There are many factors which affect the length of totality during a solar eclipse. However, the main factor is the speed at which the earth rotates. During an eclipse, the earth is rotating toward the same direction that the moon’s shadow is moving. It’s almost as if we are in a race against the moon’s shadow. The faster the earth spins, the longer it appears to take the moon’s shadow to move across its path.

Since the earth spins the fastest at the equator, the moon’s shadow seems to last longer over any particular point in lower latitudes.

As a comparison, the totality of tomorrow’s solar eclipse will last about 2 minutes and 40 seconds here in Missouri. At the equator, totality can last as long as 7 and a half minutes!

You can read more about the factors that affect the duration of a solar eclipse in this article on Would you like to witness the longest solar eclipse in thousands of years? You’ll only have to wait until the year 2186! Read more about that here:,_2186