While poking around, I noticed some cool things, like the pronounced seasonality for total eclipses:
This line chart shows the count of eclipses of each type broken out by month. Note the dip in Annular eclipses and the corresponding rise in Total eclipses from March to September.
But things got really exciting when I started exploring Saros numbers. According to NASA, “The periodicity and recurrence of eclipses is governed by the Saros cycle, a period of approximately 6,585.3 days (18 years 11 days 8 hours).” That definition got me wondering if I could visualize this pattern, and sure enough, I quickly made some fantastic vizzes displaying these finite recurrences.
Here, we can see the lifespan of Saros series. As the moon and sun align, we get a string of partial eclipses. Once in alignment, there’s a run of total/annular/hybrid eclipses. After 12-15 centuries, the moon and sun shift out of alignment and the Saros series ends, again with a number of partial eclipses.
The y-axis runs from Saros -13 (the oldest in the data set) at the top to Saros 190 at the bottom. Each mark represents an eclipse, as indicated by its catalog number. Moving along the x-axis from left to right moves forward in time.
And not all Saros series are created equal—there’s some serious patterning happening here, too:
The x-axis is Saros series number and the y-axis is number of eclipses. Note how there are clear and distinct patterns for each type of eclipse.