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Eclipse (page 2)


An Annular Eclipse Passes Above the Statue of Liberty; —  Buy this art print at AllPosters.

Nowadays we expect eclipse predictions to be accurate to a fraction of a second because we understand the underlying physical principles and have studied the motions of the earth, the moon and the sun in great detail. In the story of the Chinese eclipse there is an inference that the astronomers should have known about it in advance and there is good reason for believing that crude predictions were possible in those days because of the repetitive cycle of eclipses known as the Saros.

Partial Solar Eclipse as the Sun Sets at Manila's Bay, Philippines; —  Buy this art print at AllPosters.

The Babylonians discovered that there was a Saros or cycle of 223 intervals between new moons, after which eclipses of the sun and moon recur. If an eclipse is seen on a particular day, then it is certain that another will happen 18 years, 10 days and 7 hours later which may be visible from the same place but which will not have the same appearance. On average there are 41 eclipses in the Saros cycle, and each one of these will be followed by another just over 18 years later. The Saros was almost certainly known to the Chinese and they would have used it in predetermining the dates of eclipses.

Diagram Showing an Eclipse of the Moon, by Charles F. Bunt; —  Buy this art print at AllPosters.

The first well documented example of the use of the Saros was the prediction of the eclipse of 28 May 585 BC by Thales of Miletus, the Greek scientist and statesman, but there can be no doubt that the method was used earlier than this.

Obviously the ability to predict was a powerful tool in the hands of the astrologers and their readings of the sky were variously correlated with natural disasters, deaths, wars and the displeasure of the gods.


An Eclipse of the Moon Seen Above a Smoking Volcano, by Charles F. Bunt; —  Buy this art print at AllPosters.

In more recent times, others have used their knowledge of eclipses to great effect. Sir Arthur Helps, in his Life of Columbus (1910) relates the story of how the explorer used the lunar eclipse of 2 April 1493 to obtain provisions from the inhabitants of Jamaica. At first they were reluctant to help him and he threatened them with divine vengeance, 'for that very night the light of the Moon would fail'. The natives were frightened and during the eclipse they approached Columbus and implored his intercession — with the inevitable result that the moon was restored to them and provisioning ceased to be a problem.


Composite Image of Lunar Eclipse; —  Buy this art print at AllPosters.

The only difference between lunar and solar eclipses as far as prediction and observation are concerned is that a total solar eclipse can be seen only from a narrow strip on the earth's surface across which the moon's shadow sweeps during the time of the eclipse, and which may be only about 150 miles wide. Lunar eclipses can be seen from the entire moonward hemisphere of the earth.

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One would expect that some detailed knowledge of the processes causing eclipses would dispel some of the fears accompanying them, but the evidence of modern anthropologists seems to refute this. It seems that the basic reaction to a major natural disturbance like an eclipse still contains a certain amount of fear.

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What is an Eclipse?

Sources: Article is scheduled to be reviewed

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-- Further Learning

Copyright Info --
-- Videos and DVDs Bibliography --
-- Art and Graphics Basic Navigation --
-- Suggested Reading Additional Online Info --


Suggested Software:
Related Courses:

-- Explore Space Learning Power Pack (Win/Mac).

-- Galileo Cosmic Voyager 5 Pack CD ROM Set.

Starry Night Complete Space & Astronomy Pack.

-- Starry Night Enthusiast 5.0 Astronomy Software (Win/Mac).

The Star Trek Encyclopedia: A Reference Guide To The Future.

The UFO Anthology Deluxe 3 CD-ROM Set Deluxe field guide to extraterrestrial phenomena.

UFO - This Planet's Most Complete Guide to Close Encounters CD-ROM.

-- The Unexplained CD-ROM.

-- Click HERE for more related software.

-- Click HERE for the best prices on top-selling software titles.

Suggested Videos:

-- Destiny In Space (IMAX) DVD.

Exploring Space: The Quest for Life DVD.

Inside the Space Station DVD.

-- Men in Space.

-- Mystery of the Full Moon.

Mysteries of Deep Space.

NASA: 50 Years of Space Exploration DVD.

-- Nova - Eclipse of the Century.

Origin of the Universe.

Space Mission: Reaching for the Stars DVD.

Space Views DVD.

The IMAX Space Collection 5 DVD Set.

Understanding Space Travel.

We Are Not Alone: Space Voyagers.

-- Click HERE for more related videos.

-- Click HERE for the best prices on top-selling DVD titles.

-- Astronomy 101 - Exploring Our Universe.

Cosmology 101.

UFO Studies.

-- Handwriting Analysis Basics.

-- Understanding Parapsychology and the Paranormal.

Understanding Technology.

-- Click HERE for more new age and alternative beliefs courses.

Suggested Art prints and Posters:

NASA - Columbia Launch Into Clouds  - ©Spaceshots
NASA - Columbia Launch Into Clouds - ©Spaceshots Art Print
Buy this art print
  NASA - Buzz Aldrin On Moon  - ©Spaceshots
NASA - Buzz Aldrin On Moon - ©Spaceshots Art Print
Buy this art print
Nasa Solar System
Nasa Solar System Poster
Buy this poster
  First Man on the Moon
First Man on the Moon
Buy This
Gas-Giant Exoplanet Transiting Across the Face of Its Star
Stocktrek Images...
Buy This at
    Aerial View of a Meteor Impact Crater Near the Town of Halls Creek
Aerial View of a...
Randy Olson
Buy This at

-- Click HERE for more related art prints and posters.
-- Click HERE for related magazines and periodicals.

Suggested Books:

-- 1000 Facts About Space.

-- 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About the Universe.

-- About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution.

-- Advanced Stellar Astrophysics.

-- Adventure in Space: The Flight to Fix the Hubble.

-- Adventures in Celestial Mechanics: A First Course in the Theory of Orbits.

-- After Contact: The Human Response to Extraterrestrial Life.

-- All About Space (Scholastic First Encyclopedia).

-- Amazing Spacefacts: Solar System, Stars, Space Travel (Facts at Your Fingertips).

Astrophysics and Space Physics Reviews: Supernova 1987A.

Chandra: Chandrasekhar Sets of White Dwarfs & Supernova Cores.

-- Eclipse: An Introduction to Total and Partial Eclipses of the Sun and Moon.

-- Eclipse!: The What, Where, When, Why, and How Guide to Watching Solar and Lunar Eclipses.

-- Eclipses: Nature's Blackouts (First Book).

-- Fundamentals of Astrodynamics and Applications.

Shadow of a Star: The Neutrino Story of Supernova 1987A.

-- Space Mission Analysis and Design (Space Technology Library).

Supernova 1987a in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Supernova Remnants and the Interstellar Medium.

Supernova Remnants and Their X-Ray Emission.

Supernova Search Charts and Handbook.

Supernova Vignettes.

-- The 21st Century in Space (Isaac Asimov's New Library of the Universe).

-- The Cambridge Eclipse Photography Guide: How and Where to Observe and Photography Solar and Lunar Eclipses.

The Crab Nebula and Related Supernova Remnants.

-- The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe (Science Masters Series).

-- The Origin of the Universe (Science Masters Series).

-- The Space Environment: Implications for Spacecraft Design.

-- The Sun in Eclipse (Practical Astronomy).

-- Totality: Eclipses of the Sun.

-- Understanding Space: An Introduction to Astronautics.

-- Click HERE for more Moon related books.

-- Click HERE for more Solar System related books.

-- Click HERE for more Space related books.

-- Click HERE for more Supernova related books.

-- Click HERE for more Universe related books.

-- Click HERE for the best prices on top-selling book titles.



Further info:

-- Eclipse.
-- Eclipses.
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