Eclipse the Shadow

gowritellsStarred Page By gowritells, 13th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Mythology

Several myths about astronomy are explained by refining the search on celestial bodies which conclude with similar ideas which date back to pre-historic times but remained as unbelievable stories which are actually unexplainable facts.

Eclipse as explained in Science

Eclipse is the partial or complete darkening of a heavenly body as seen by an observer.To become more simple,a temporary or permanent dimming or cutting off of light.We all know that this cutting of light always forms "shadows" or the dark image of an object formed on the opposite side of the light.This happens, cause light travels in a straight line and whenever there is a destruction on its path,the only effect it produces is a shadow.
Let's be more practical, when you want to concentrate on something and if someone disturbs you,definitely you will be showing the reaction and there will be some after effect for the person disturbing you.
The same thing happens with light,causing shadows whenever there is obstruction on its path.This happens even with the celestial bodies like the Sun and Moon as they are the sources of light on Earth. En Eclipse can be experienced even on other planets of our solar system which have got moons.
But, lets specify only about Earth and its Moon here as we all have experienced it.
As we all know,the moon orbits around the earth and the earth revolves around the sun.
The sun gives outs light to the earth and moon,so whenever moon or earth come in between the path of the light from sun,an eclipse of SUN (Solar) or MOON (Lunar) is experienced.
The LUNAR Eclipse : Sometimes Earth moves between the sun and the moon. When this happens, Earth blocks the sunlight that normally is reflected by the moon. (This sunlight is what causes the moon to shine.) Instead of light hitting the moon’s surface, Earth's shadow falls on it. This is an eclipse of the moon -- a lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse can occur only when the moon is full which can be seen during the night.

A lunar eclipse usually lasts for a few hours. At least two partial lunar eclipses happen every year, but total lunar eclipses are rare.its fine to look at a lunar eclipse,as it doesn't cause any sight problem.

THE SOLAR ECLIPSE : while the moon orbits Earth, it moves between the sun and Earth.and so, the moon blocks the light of the sun from reaching Earth. This causes an eclipse of the sun, the moon casts a shadow onto Earth.

Solar eclipse of three types : Total,Partial and Annular.
One should never look at the solar eclipse directly as it may damage our eye sight.So,people use a film or a negative of a photo to view it.

Description of Total lunar eclipse

TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE :When the moon ,earth and sun are on exactly straight line, earth's atmosphere filters the blue light from the sun causing a red appearance of the moon as seen from earth.This happens because,some of the light from sun reaches the moon,though a shadow of earth is cast on moon.

Description of Partial lunar eclipse

PARTIAL LUNAR ECLIPSE : A partial lunar eclipse happens when only a part of the moon enters Earth's shadow,which appears very dark on the side of the moon facing Earth.It all depends on how the sun, Earth and moon are lined up.

Description of Total solar eclipse

TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE : A total solar eclipse is only visible from a small area on Earth. The people who see the total eclipse are in the center of the moon’s shadow when it hits Earth. The sky becomes very dark, as in the night. For a total eclipse to take place, the sun, moon and Earth must be in a straight line. The sky becomes very dark, as in the night. For a total eclipse to take place, the sun, moon and Earth must be in a straight line.

Description of Partial solar eclipse

PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE : This happens when the sun, moon and Earth are not exactly lined up. The sun appears to have a dark shadow on only a small part of Earth's surface.

Description of Annular eclipse

An annular eclipse : An annular eclipse happens when the moon is farthest from Earth. and so it appears smaller. It does not block the entire view of the sun. The moon creates a "diamond - ring" around the moon.

The Hindu Mythology

Eclipse is explained in the Hindu mythology as the story of a daemon named "Svarabhanu."
"Ketu" is a descending lunar node in Hindu astrology. After the head of "Svarbhānu",a daemon ,was cut off by God Vishnu, his head and body joined with a snake to form "Ketu", representing the body without a head, and "Rahu", representing the head without a body.
According to Hindu mythology, both Rahu and Ketu are totally different entities with distinct characteristics and not two parts of a common body.
"Ketu" is generally referred to as a "shadow" planet. It is believed to have a tremendous impact on human lives and also the whole creation. "Ketu" is often depicted with a gem or star on his head signifying a mystery light.

Some more descriptions of Rahu and Ketu.

During the Samudra manthan or the churning of the ocean (or the paala samudra)its believed that "Rahu" drank some of the divine nectar. The divine nectar makes the drinker immortal. But before the nectar could pass his throat, "Mohini" (the female avatar of Vishnu) cut off his head. The head, however, remained immortal and is called Rahu, while the rest of the body became Ketu. It is believed that this immortal head occasionally swallows the sun or the moon, causing eclipses. The sun or moon passes through the opening at the neck, ending the eclipse.
"Rahu" is the head of the demonic snake that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses, according to Hindu scriptures. He is depicted in art as a dragon with no body riding a charot drawn by eight black horses .

A last word

Although,much was not known about eclipse earlier,the stories could assume that there would be instances where sun and moon wouldn't be visible for a few moments and this was termed as a daemonic act and thus we keep purifying the stored water with basil leaves or turmeric.We still continue to fast during the time of eclipse and intake of food is allowed only after having bath.These were taken as rituals hundreds of years ago,much before the inventions of telescopes and discoveries made by scientists.And still we continue to practice as every act has got scientific explanation now.How was this possible for our ancestors to know about the formation of eclipse and what to do or what not to do during eclipse is still a mystery! The descriptions of these stories are left to our imagination.


Earth, Eclipse, Hindu Mythology, Moon, Mythological Stories, Orbit, Revolution, Science, Shadows, Snake, Sun

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author avatar gowritells
writing is my passion and I am glad when readers find my pages interesting or inspiring.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
15th Apr 2015 (#)

Thanks for sharing your article. Great pictures!!

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author avatar gowritells
15th Apr 2015 (#)

Thanku nancy

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
15th Apr 2015 (#)

Thanks for this post, Soumya - science and beliefs should ultimately lead to the same path, the beauty is creation is ever nourishing and we should play our part positively - siva

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author avatar gowritells
15th Apr 2015 (#)

That is true sir,even I feel the same.

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author avatar Retired
15th Apr 2015 (#)

Mythology when established becomes science. Nice post. Thanks for the share.

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author avatar gowritells
15th Apr 2015 (#)

But people don't accept it as science and that is why it is full of uknown facts. Thanku 4ur comment sir.

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