Can we see the solar eclipse after 600 million years?

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Main Question or Discussion Point

would we be able to see a total solar eclipse after about 600 million years from now?
 

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  • #2
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Of course not. We'll both be dead by then!
 
  • #3
Janus
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Would Total solar eclipses still occur 600,000,000 yrs from now? Yes, but they would be less frequent. Assuming that the eccentricity of the Moon's orbit doesn't change, when the Moon is at its closest point of its orbit, and Earth at its furthest from the Sun, the angular size of the Moon would still be a bit larger than the Sun's, even though the Moon will have increased its average distance from the Earth.
 
  • #4
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got something interesting from the net

Spectacular solar eclipses are an extreme rarity within the universe at large. They are seen on Earth because of a fortuitous combination of circumstances that are statistically very improbable. Even on Earth, spectacular eclipses of the type familiar to people today are a temporary phenomenon. Many millions of years in the past, the Moon was too close to the Earth to precisely occult the Sun as it does during eclipses today; and many millions of years in the future, it will be too far away to do so.

Due to tidal acceleration, the orbit of the Moon around the Earth becomes approximately 3.8 cm more distant each year. It is estimated that in 600 million years, the distance from the Earth to the Moon will have increased by 23,500 km, meaning that it will no longer be able to completely cover the Sun's disk. This will be true even when the Moon is at perigee, and the Earth at aphelion.

A complicating factor is that the Sun will increase in size over this timescale. This makes it even more unlikely that the Moon will be able to cause a total eclipse. We can therefore say that the last total solar eclipse on Earth will occur in slightly less than 600 million years.
 
  • #6
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Do you mean because the Moon is receding due to loss of momentum to tidal friction ?? IIRC, that rate of loss is difficult to predict because it depends on plate tectonics re-positioning obstacles to tidal flow, vulcanism throwing up sea-mounts etc in eg Antarctic Peninsula...

I suppose there will also be some dependence on sea-level, variable by +/- ~ 100 metres by ice ages, also variations in tidal forces...
http://www.pnas.org/content/94/16/8321.full?ck=nck
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbit_of_the_Moon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_acceleration
quote:
Most of the dissipation occurs in a turbulent bottom boundary layer in shallow seas such as the European shelf around the British Isles, the Patagonian shelf off Argentina, and the Bering Sea.[10]
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