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Does the Total Solar Eclipse Impact the tides?

Spring Tides

On Monday, August 21st, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the United States and the last place to experience totality will be the South Carolina coast.

Many folks looking to take in totality will avoid highway traffic by hopping on their boats and cruising to ports in the path of totality.

Will the eclipse have any impact on the tides? In short, no. The moon is in its ‘new’ phase, so whatever gravitational effects you might expect during a total solar eclipse also happen any time there is a New Moon, which happens every 28 days.

In fact, twice a month, during new and full moons, the moon, earth, and sun are aligned and the gravitational pull of the sun adds to that of the moon causing the ocean to bulge a bit more than usual. This means that high tides are higher than normal and low tides are lower than normal. These Spring Tides (a.k.a. King tides) will be at their maximum Sunday, August 20th, and Monday, August 21st

Seven days after a spring tide, the sun and the moon are at right angles to each other. When this happens, the bulge of the ocean caused by the sun partially cancels out the bulge of the ocean caused by the moon. This produces moderate tides known as neap tides, meaning that high tides are a little lower and low tides are a little higher than average. Neap tides occur during the first and third quarter moon when the moon appears "half full."

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