Data-driven decisions

Track solar eclipses from the past and of the future

Dec 22, 2016

Even with the earth, moon and sun moving constantly, astronomers have been accurately predicting the location of solar eclipses for thousands of years.

The calculations used to forecast eclipses are pretty serious for the casual fan, but now there’s no need to worry about dealing with the Besselian elements thanks to a unique and entirely immersive web app that tracks solar eclipse movement over a 600-year period.

Richie Carmichaeil, one of Esri’s leading developers, designed the solar eclipse finder, with data provided by GIS specialist (and solar eclipse enthusiast) Michael Zeiler.


What’s instantly attractive about this smart map is the way it makes multiple layers of information easy to understand.

You can move the virtual pin to any position on the planet and be instantly informed about the solar eclipses that have happened (coloured green), or are due (coloured orange), in that specific location.

Scroll your mouse over the highlighted paths and you’re then provided extensive details on that particular eclipse – information including date, time, duration, width. Even more high level stats on things like sun altitude and saros cycle are also made available.

Meanwhile, from a design standpoint, gradient effects and line tapering help to give an accurate portrayal of each eclipse’s journey.

The resulting coloured ribbons seem to encapsulate the passing, majestic beauty of a solar eclipse quite well.

In addition to the solar eclipse finder, you can find a whole host of other interesting and topical content housed in our map gallery. If you want to be notified when other great maps go live, you should also subscribe to receive Esri Australia newsletter and blog updates.
About the author

Ben Doyle

Contributor