Solar eclipse of March 7, 1970

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Solar eclipse of March 7, 1970
Type of eclipse
Maximum eclipse
Duration208 sec (3 m 28 s)
Coordinates18°12′N 94°42′W / 18.2°N 94.7°W / 18.2; -94.7
Max. width of band153 km (95 mi)
Times (UTC)
Greatest eclipse17:38:30
Saros139 (27 of 71)
Catalog # (SE5000)9442

A total solar eclipse occurred on Saturday, March 7, 1970, visible across most of North America and Central America.[1][2][3][4][5]

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is larger than the Sun's, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across Earth's surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region thousands of kilometres wide. Occurring only 1.3 days after perigee (Perigee on March 6, 1970 at 09:32 UTC), the Moon's apparent diameter was very larger.

Totality was visible across southern Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico, the southeast Atlantic coast of the United States, northeast to the Maritimes of eastern Canada, and northern Miquelon-Langlade in the French overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.[6]

Greatest eclipse occurred over Mexico at 11:38 am CST, with totality lasting 3 minutes and 27.65 seconds. Totality over the U.S. lasted up to 3 minutes and 10 seconds.[7] The media declared Perry as the first municipality in Florida to be in the eclipse direct path.

Inclement weather obstructed the viewing from that location and most of the eclipse path through the remainder of the southern states. There will not be an eclipse with a greater duration of totality over the contiguous U.S. until April 8, 2024, a period of 54 years.

Scientific effects[edit]

This eclipse slowed a radio transmission of atomic time from North Carolina to Washington, D.C.[8]


Animation of eclipse path (3 minutes per frame)

Related eclipses[edit]

Solar eclipses of 1968–1971[edit]

This eclipse is a member of a semester series. An eclipse in a semester series of solar eclipses repeats approximately every 177 days and 4 hours (a semester) at alternating nodes of the Moon's orbit.[9]

Saros 139[edit]

It is a part of saros series 139, repeating every 18 years, 11 days, 8 hours, containing 71 events. The series started with partial solar eclipse on May 17, 1501. It contains hybrid eclipses on August 11, 1627 through December 9, 1825 and total eclipses from December 21, 1843 through March 26, 2601. The series ends at member 71 as a partial eclipse on July 3, 2763. Members in the same column are one exeligmos apart and thus occur in the same geographic area.

The solar eclipse of June 13, 2132 will be the longest total solar eclipse since July 11, 1991 at 6 minutes, 55.02 seconds.

The longest duration of totality will be produced by member 39 at 7 minutes, 29.22 seconds on July 16, 2186.[10] This is the longest solar eclipse computed between 4000BC and 6000AD.[11]

After 16 July 2186, totality duration will decrease. All eclipses in this series occurs at the Moon’s ascending node.

Tritos series[edit]

This eclipse is a part of a tritos cycle, repeating at alternating nodes every 135 synodic months (≈ 3986.63 days, or 11 years minus 1 month). Their appearance and longitude are irregular due to a lack of synchronization with the anomalistic month (period of perigee), but groupings of 3 tritos cycles (≈ 33 years minus 3 months) come close (≈ 434.044 anomalistic months), so eclipses are similar in these groupings.

Metonic series[edit]

The metonic series repeats eclipses every 19 years (6939.69 days), lasting about 5 cycles. Eclipses occur in nearly the same calendar date. In addition, the octon subseries repeats 1/5 of that or every 3.8 years (1387.94 days). All eclipses in this table occur at the Moon's ascending node.

In popular culture[edit]

CBS first color broadcast of a total eclipse.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]

The eclipse may be referenced in the hit popular song “You're So Vain” by Carly Simon, although this may refer to a different eclipse.


  1. ^ "Spell cast by eclipse". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). UPI. March 7, 1970. p. 1.
  2. ^ "Sun, Moon, Earth fall into step". Free Lance-Star. (Fredericksburg, Virginia). Associated Press. March 7, 1970. p. 1.
  3. ^ "Scientists get great view of solar eclipse in Mexico". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. March 8, 1970. p. 1.
  4. ^ "Great shadow crosses Earth as millions watch in awe". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. (Florida). Associated Press. March 8, 1970. p. 1.
  5. ^ Quigg, H.D. (March 8, 1970). "Seaboard 'oohs' as Ol' Sol blinks". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). UPI. p. 1.
  6. ^ Blakeslee, Alton (March 7, 1970). "Total solar eclipse visible in East today". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 1.
  7. ^ Espenak, Fred. "Total Solar Eclipse of 1970 Mar 07". NASA Eclipse Website. Goddard Space Flight Center. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  8. ^ Sadeh, D. (1971), Phase variation of a very accurate radio frequency signal due to the solar eclipse, J. Geophys. Res., 76(34), 8427–8429, doi:10.1029/JA076i034p08427
  9. ^ van Gent, R.H. "Solar- and Lunar-Eclipse Predictions from Antiquity to the Present". A Catalogue of Eclipse Cycles. Utrecht University. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  10. ^ Saros Series Catalog of Solar Eclipses NASA Eclipse Web Site.
  11. ^ Ten Millennium Catalog of Long Solar Eclipses, -3999 to +6000 (4000 BCE to 6000 CE) Fred Espenak.
  12. ^ Mike Kentrianakis (10 March 2010). "Solar Eclipse 1970 March 7 CBS News 1 of 6". Retrieved 20 May 2017 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ Mike Kentrianakis (10 March 2010). "Solar Eclipse 1970 March 7 CBS News 2 of 6". Retrieved 20 May 2017 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ Mike Kentrianakis (10 March 2010). "Solar Eclipse 1970 March 7 CBS News 3 of 6". Retrieved 20 May 2017 – via YouTube.
  15. ^ Mike Kentrianakis (10 March 2010). "Solar Eclipse 1970 March 7 CBS News 4 of 6". Retrieved 20 May 2017 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ Mike Kentrianakis (10 March 2010). "Solar Eclipse 1970 March 7 CBS News 5 of 6". Retrieved 20 May 2017 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ Mike Kentrianakis (10 March 2010). "Solar Eclipse 1970 March 7 CBS News 6 of 6". Retrieved 20 May 2017 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ "60 Years Ago: The World's 1st Televised Solar Eclipse". Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  19. ^ "NASA Remembers 1970 Solar 'Eclipse of the Century'". Retrieved 20 May 2017.




Photos and observations