Solar eclipse of March 7, 1970

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Solar eclipse of March 7, 1970
Type of eclipse
Nature Total
Gamma 0.4473
Magnitude 1.0414
Maximum eclipse
Duration 208 sec (3 m 28 s)
Coordinates 18°12′N 94°42′W / 18.2°N 94.7°W / 18.2; -94.7
Max. width of band 153 km (95 mi)
Times (UTC)
Greatest eclipse 17:38:30
Saros 139 (27 of 71)
Catalog # (SE5000) 9442

The total solar eclipse of March 7, 1970 was visible across all of North America and Central America. 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. Totality was visible across southern Mexico and across the southeast coast of the United States and Canada. Greatest eclipse occurred over Mexico, with totality lasting 3 minutes and 28 seconds. Totality over the United States lasted up to 3 minutes and 10 seconds.[1] There will not be an eclipse with a greater duration of totality over the contiguous United States until the solar eclipse of April 8, 2024, a period of 54 years.

Scientific effects[edit]

The March 7 eclipse slowed a radio transmission of atomic time from North Carolina to Washington, D.C.[2]


Animation of eclipse path (3 minutes per frame)

Related eclipses[edit]

Solar eclipses of 1968-1971[edit]

Each member 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.

Solar eclipse series sets from 1968-1971
Ascending node   Descending node
Saros Map Saros Map
119 SE1968Mar28P.png
March 28, 1968
124 SE1968Sep22T.png
September 22, 1968
129 SE1969Mar18A.png
March 18, 1969
134 SE1969Sep11A.png
September 11, 1969
139 SE1970Mar07T.png
March 7, 1970
144 SE1970Aug31A.png
August 31, 1970
149 SE1971Feb25P.png
February 25, 1971
154 SE1971Aug20P.png
August 20, 1971
A partial solar eclipse of July 22, 1971 occurs in the next lunar year set.

Saros 139[edit]

It is a part of saros series 139, repeating every 18 years, 11 days, 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 seconds.

The longest duration of totality will be produced by member 39 at 7 minutes, 29 seconds on July 16, 2186.[3] This is the longest solar eclipse computed between 4000BC and 6000AD.[4]

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).

In popular culture[edit]

Carly Simon's December 1972 pop hit "You're So Vain" contains the lyric "Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun," and could only have been a reference to this eclipse, not the one also over Nova Scotia on July 10, 1972, because it was actually written in 1971.

This may also have been the eclipse mentioned in episode two of the The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–77), entitled "Today I am a Ma'am", which the character Howard Arnell (played by Richard Schaal (1928 - 2014)) has photographs he took of it pre exposed and therefore ruined, whereupon he bemoans the fact that the next total eclipse over Minneapolis will not occur until the solar eclipse of September 14, 2099, although a partial would happen in 1979.


  1. ^ Espenak, Fred. "TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE OF 1970 MAR 07". NASA Eclipse Website. Goddard Space Flight Center. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Saros Series Catalog of Solar Eclipses NASA Eclipse Web Site
  4. ^ Ten Millennium Catalog of Long Solar Eclipses, -3999 to +6000 (4000 BCE to 6000 CE) Fred Espinak




Photos and observations