# How old are the total solar eclipses as we see them today? [closed]

I've seen it referenced often that "total solar eclipses" (of the kind we see today where the corona of the Sun is visible as opposed to all of it being blocked) have become possible only recently (in geological time) since the moon has been receding from us. But no where have I seen an estimate of how ancient we think these kinds of eclipses are. I have read that the oldest recorded one might be about 5000 years old. But not how old they might be in absolute terms. Did the dinosaurs see the famous ring we see today or did they simply see total darkness for a few minutes?

Note: for the terminology on "total" vs other kinds of solar eclipses, I'm going by what this website uses: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/list.html. When they say "total solar eclipse", they mean the ones where a very thin ring of light is visible.

The following image has been taken from the NASA website (note you can see a ring in both kinds): https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/eclipses/future-eclipses/

EDIT: Here, by total solar eclipse, I mean the kinds we currently see on Earth where a ring of light (from the Sun) is visible and it isn't simply occluded completely. This requires precise conditions where the Moon should be at the right distance and the right size in relation to the Sun. Quoting from another answer:

"The criterion for an exoplanet to have solar eclipses like the spectacular ones we have here on Earth is a moon that happens to have an angular size large enough to cover the photosphere, but not so large that it also hides the corona."

This article answers the related question on when the last such eclipse will be (in 650 million years): https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/08/18/earths-final-total-solar-eclipse-will-happen-in-less-than-a-billion-years/?sh=3c7b038a635a

Here is a highly related question (pointed out by someone later in the comments that are now moved): When did the first annular eclipse happen? and also this one: How rare are earth-like solar eclipses?

• So what you mean is how long ago were there no annular eclipses? Since all eclipses would have been "total" in the distant past by your definition - the corona has no well-defined extent. When the Moon was closer it would have easily blocked the photosphere leaving the corona visible. I feel you need to completely clarify your question and eclipse definitions. Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 15:43
• Why are you defining "total eclipse" as one where you can see the corona? That is not the definition. Voting to close as unclear. Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 17:32
• @RohitPandey that "small ring of light" is the (inner) corona. And it's dramatically less bright than photosphere or chromosphere - and only visible against the night sky with decreasing outward area brightness - visible from Earth only during exactly that: a total eclipse where the complete sun is hidden by the moon (as opposed to a partial or annular eclispe). If you take photos without adjusting exposure settings, the images will then be dark. The human eye with its logarithmic sensitivity is quick enough to adjust. Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 19:12
• "I've seen it referenced often that solar eclipses have become possible only recently [...] since the moon has been receding from us" — this doesn't make sense: if the Moon has always been receding, its angular size has always been decreasing, so if it can cover the 0.5°-diameter solar disk now, it could cover it all the time it existed. Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 5:56
• "That's how it makes sense" — well, it still doesn't: your title asks "How old are total solar eclipses?", which implies that they do exist now and didn't exist at some point in the past, while in the comments you say that today's eclipses are not really eclipses. Your question is really quite unclear, it would be better if you rephrased it so that it was more apparent what you're asking. Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 12:54