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  • Stephen Lehman

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The periodicity and recurrence of solar eclipses is governed by the Saros cycle, a period of approximately 6,585.3 days (18 years 11 days 8 hours). When two eclipses are separated by a period of one Saros, they share a very similar geometry. The two eclipses occur at the same node[1] with the Moon at nearly the same distance from Earth and at the same time of year. Thus, the Saros is useful for organizing eclipses into families or series. Each series typically lasts 12 to 13 centuries and contains 70 or more eclipses. Every saros series begins with a number of partial eclipses near one of Earth's polar regions. The series will then produce several dozen central[2] eclipses before ending with a group of partial eclipses near the opposite pole.

Solar eclipses of Saros 139 all occur at the Moon’s ascending node and the Moon moves southward with each eclipse. The series began with a partial eclipse in the northern hemisphere on May 17, 1501. The series will end with a partial eclipse in the southern hemisphere on Jul 03, 2763. The total duration of Saros series 139 is 1262.11 years.

[1] The Moon's orbit is inclined about 5 degrees to Earth's orbit around the Sun. The points where the lunar orbit intersects the plane of Earth's orbit are known as the nodes. The Moon moves from south to north of Earth's orbit at the ascending node, and from north to south at the descending node.

[2]Central solar eclipses are eclipses in which the central axis of the Moon's shadow strikes the Earth's surface. All partial (penumbral) eclipses are non-central eclipses since the shadow axis misses Earth. However, umbral eclipses (total, annular and hybrid) may be either central (usually) or non-central (rarely).

Hybrid eclipses are also known as annular/total eclipses. Such an eclipse is both total and annular along different sections of its umbral path.

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