People are making a huge deal out of the upcoming total eclipse.  But is it really that rare of an event?

In just a few days, Buffalo is going to see something that we don't get to see all that often.  It's a rare total eclipse, and people are already starting to kind of lose their minds over it.

What is a total eclipse?

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the earth and the sun.  With the moon completely in front of the sun, light will be blocked from the earth in what they call the "path of totality."

This year, Buffalo is right in the middle of the path of totality meaning that it will be one of the best places in the country to watch it happen.

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How often do total solar eclipses happen?

If it feels like we just had one of these a couple of years ago, it's because we did.  In 2017, Buffalo was in the path of totality.  People were out in the streets with their glasses on and it did get dark for a brief moment.

As a matter of fact, we get a total solar eclipse on average about once ever 18 months on earth.

What makes this eclipse so rare?

If total solar eclipses happen once every 18 months, then how can you say they're rare?

What's rare about it is the fact that it is going to happen right over Buffalo this time.  They happen around once every 18 months, but they could happen anywhere.  Some of them even happen in the middle of the ocean so very few people get to see them.

Mark Percy, Director of the Williamsville Central School District’s Planetarium, spoke with WIVB about how predictable total solar eclipses are.  While there will probably be another one in the United States in 2045 it won't pass over Buffalo.  The next one won't happen over Buffalo until around 2144.  So, unless the fountain of youth is found or we have some incredible science discovery most of us will never see this event in Buffalo again in our lifetime.  If you want to see a total solar eclipse in the path of totality, you're going to have to travel to get to it.

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