Besselian elements are used to predict whether an eclipse will be partial, annular, or total (or annular/total), and what the eclipse circumstances will be at any given location. Calculations with Besselian elements can determine the exact shape of the umbra's shadow on the earth's surface. But at what longitudes on the Earth's surface the shadow will fall, is a function of the Earth's rotation, and on how much that rotation has slowed down over time. A number called ΔT is used in eclipse prediction to take this slowing into account. As the Earth slows, ΔT increases. ΔT for dates in the future can only be roughly estimated because the Earth's rotation is slowing irregularly. This means that, although it is possible to predict that there will be a total eclipse on a certain date in the far future, it is not possible to predict in the far future exactly at what longitudes that eclipse will be total. Historical records of eclipses allow estimates of past values of ΔT and so of the Earth's rotation.