Eclipse Time Line

Each point in time where a new apparent intersection occurs between the Sun and Moon in the sky is called a “Contact”. Eclipses have at least two contacts known simply as first contact and last contact. These are the times when the moon first appears at the edge of the sun and when the moon last appears at the other edge. Total and Annular eclipses include a second and third contact. These are the times when the opposite edge of the moon covers (total) or appears (annular).

Eclipse Timing
First Contact When the moon first appears against the sun
Second Contact Diamond ring, total eclipse starts
Third Contact Total eclipse ends, diamond ring
Last Contact When the moon disappears from the sun

The time between 2nd and 3rd contacts is the shortest and most interesting. Total eclipse time between those contacts vary from a few scant seconds up to seven minutes.

Eclipse Relative Time

There are some that argue that no matter what the time between C2 and C3, it will seem like just a few seconds (range is 8 to 15). The reason is that you are trying to see a lot, do a lot, watch a lot, and absorb it all as much as possible. And that is an amazing thing to do!

Speaking of relative time during an eclipse, the time from C1 to C2 will move slowly. Frequent checks of the progress reveal little to no motion. It will be a long hour or so. Comparing the time from C1 to C2 to the time from C3 to C4 you will note that they are identical. Yet during the eclipse they will not seem that way. The from C3 to C4 flies by in comparison as you celebrate the shorter time between C2 and C3.

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