Historical eclipse tidbits
• Fifteen total eclipses have been recorded somewhere in the continental United States in the last 150 years. One that was visible as a partial eclipse in this area happened on Feb. 26, 1979.
• Following the total solar eclipse of March 7, 1970, the American Association of Ophthalmology reported that 145 cases of burned retinas were treated nationwide.
• While 23 solar eclipses of varying visibility have occurred in the Springfield area in the last half-century, not all have involved the moon crossing over the sun. The path of the planet Venus caused a transit event in front of the sun on June 5, 2012, while Mercury caused the same phenomenon on May 9, 2016.
• Several lunar eclipses (a lunar eclipse is when the moon is blocked out by the earth passing between the moon and the sun as opposed to solar eclipses – like this week’s – wherein the sun is blocked out by the moon passing between the earth and the sun) have also been visible in the area in recent years, including one on Feb. 20, 2008, that captivated stargazers across the region. The most recent lunar eclipse was on Feb. 10 of this year.
Tom Emery is a freelance writer and historical researcher from Carlinville. He may be reached at 217-710-8392 or firstname.lastname@example.org.