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10 Things to Remember While Watching the Total Solar Eclipse

Travel + Leisure Logo By Jamie Carter of Travel + Leisure | Slide 1 of 10: <p>The sun is 400 times larger than the moon — but it's also 400 times further away. So when the moon's orbit takes it across the ecliptic — the apparent path of the sun through the sky — it can fit across it exactly. It happens roughly once every 18 months. Since the moon is drifting away from Earth at 3.8cm every year, such perfect total solar eclipses will not always occur. So we're born lucky, in an age of totality, but don't feel too blessed: The moon will one day be too far away from Earth to totally eclipse the sun (but that will take 538 million years).</p>

The Age of Totality

The sun is 400 times larger than the moon — but it's also 400 times further away. So when the moon's orbit takes it across the ecliptic — the apparent path of the sun through the sky — it can fit across it exactly. It happens roughly once every 18 months. Since the moon is drifting away from Earth at 3.8cm every year, such perfect total solar eclipses will not always occur. So we're born lucky, in an age of totality, but don't feel too blessed: The moon will one day be too far away from Earth to totally eclipse the sun (but that will take 538 million years).

© Courtesy of NASA Scientific Visualization Studio

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