Thursday, July 23, 2009

The longest ECLIPSE of the century:

Occurrence: The eclipse has different perspective with respect to science and mythology. Eclipses are scientifically interesting because they allow a rare glimpse of the cooler corona, glowing gases near the sun’s surface and solar flares, which are normally not visible due to the brightness of the sun. To state it in simple way, the full moon gets between the earth and sun. If this is the sole reason, you might expect solar eclipse to happen once a month. But unfortunately it is not so as the moon’s orbit is tilted 50 tilted to the earth’s orbit. So this geometry lines up twice a year to make the solar eclipse.

Dated June 22’09: This particular eclipse which occurred on 22nd of June ‘09 is considered to be the longest one which lasted for 6 minutes and 39 seconds. India is one among the few places to witness the eclipse in totality. One of the best views of the complete eclipse appeared to be in the town of Varanasi, on the banks of Ganges River, sacred to devout Hindus. Thousands had been there to take the holy dip as ablution of their sins. Students, Scientists had gathered at Tregna, an Indian village as it was predicted to have the clearest view of eclipse. But the thick clouds and overnight rains ad played the spoilsport to breakdown the enthusiasts. Other places in India to witness the eclipse were Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal. Chennai witnessed partial eclipse of 62%.
The longest stretch of eclipse was witnessed over the Pacific which lasted for 6 minutes and 39 seconds. This wont overreach till 2132 as this has been recorded as the longest one since 1991

This is the most beautiful part of an eclipse, the formation of a diamond ring. The second one is the total eclipse witnessed.

Eclipse the Myth:

1.Hindu Mythology: India subscribed to the idea that a monster ate the sun during an eclipse and the beast even had his own name and identity. The story of Rahu, who had a tail like a comet and a head like a dragon, appears in many of the ancient Hindu scriptures. Rahu became jealous when he discovered the gods drinking the nectar of eternal life. So he went about disguising himself and began to drink it as well.

But the sun and moon saw him and summoned the god Vishnu, who quickly cut off the creature's head. The body crashed to earth, creating mountains and islands, but Rahu's head survived and rose to the sky. In an eternal quest for revenge, he ate the sun and moon, causing an eclipse.

2.American mythology: For native Americans was the theme of sibling rivalry. There was the turbulent relationship between the sun goddess, Malina, and her moon brother, Annigan. One night the two adolescents were romping around in the dark when he suddenly became sexually aroused and raped his sister. In her anger she fled to the sky where he lustfully chased after her. When he finally managed to catch up with her there was a dramatic eclipse.
These two mythologies are the contradictory ones, others like, Chinese and Babylonians has the same storyline of Indian mythology.
People follow their own ways to overcome the bad effects as they believe. In that way, In India people may immerse themselves in water up to their necks; believing this act of worship will help the Sun and Moon defend themselves against the dragon. In Japan, the custom is to cover wells during an eclipse to prevent poison from dropping into them from the darkened sky. And as recently as the last century, the Chinese Imperial Navy fired its ceremonial guns during an eclipse to scare off the invisible dragon.
Though it is commendable response from people to throw away the superstitions and witness the eclipse of the century, there are a few people who still go with those believes. A few are here:

1. Don’t drink water or consume food as it would impair the digestive system.

Science: There is no evidence to support this.

2. Pregnant women should not be exposed to the eclipse and should be confined in a dark room as the rays would create some birth marks and might cause some ill-effects on the baby.

Science: As per the study conducted no visible effects were recorded.

3. Everyone should have head bath to ward off evil spirits.

Science: It is only an article of faith and followed as a conduct of cleanliness.

4. Snakes and insects invade the house during the eclipse.

Science: Studies are still underway.
This being a reason for people to shun away from the sun, there are a few others who make it into their business. Jet line airways in India had arranged for a charter flight to witness the eclipse. Many people had geared up to watch it close by and felt a great sense of satisfaction of their life time.

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