Eclipses have fascinated humans from the beginning.

Throughout time, humans have had different interpretations of and reactions to these striking celestial events. In fact, historical records of eclipses from scribes in Anyang, China, helped astronomers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to determine how Earth’s rotation has changed over time.

Determining exactly when the eclipse was seen and where the Moon's shadow fell on Earth helped the scientists calculate the rate of Earth's spin. The eclipses they used for this research were in 1226 B.C.E., 1198 B.C.E., 1172 B.C.E., 1163 B.C.E., and 1161 B.C.E. ​

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progression of a solar eclipse shown by overlaying photos taken throughout the eclipse This composite image shows the progression of a partial solar eclipse over Ross Lake, in Northern Cascades National Park, Washington, on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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