Total Eclipse of the Sun July 22, 2009
Facts • Longest total solar eclipse of the 21st C, lasting at most 6min 39s • 2nd eclipse in the series of 3 in 1 mth (lunar eclipses on July 7 & August 6, 2009)
Whatever it may be, • Knowledge saves you • It is well known that Columbus found his acquaintance with the calculations of astronomy of great practical value. For when, during his last expedition, he was reduced to famine by the inhabitants of the newly discovered continent…the moon disappeared, they brought abundance of supplies, with much entreaty of pardon. This occurred on the 1st day of March, 1504
Urban legend • Prediction of earthquake due to tectonic uplift in South of Japan, causing a tsunami
Other myths & beliefs • “People stayed inside their houses…thoroughly intimidated….Sleeping late… is not a Javanese form of luxury. It is instead a rather common response to fear….People felt no compunction about saying that they had lain in bed because they felt afraid.”
India: “Housewives were busy before the eclipse placing darbas and tulsi leaves on food items….Pregnant women too were tense, sitting tight for fear of hurting their babies. Some grandmas prevented them from scratching for the fear that the newborn would have scars!”
In Hindu mythology, Rahu and Ketu are the names of the head and torso of a demon that swallowed the moon and sun, causing an eclipse. • People in India take a dip in holy rivers to cleanse themselves after the eclipse and some avoid cooking and eating during the eclipse. Some people also say pregnant women should refrain from sewing during the eclipse, as their babies might develop birth defects.
"In ancient times, Chinese people believed that a celestial dragon or dog was devouring the sun during an eclipse.” • In the Odyssey, Homer states that, “the Sun vanished out of heaven and an evil gloom covered all things about the hour of the midday meal.”
In America the idea is that the sun and moon are tired when they are eclipsed. • Of the Germans, Grimm says:--"like the wolf devouring the sun or moon. • The Creeks explained this by saying that the big dog was swallowing the sun…It was the night goddess, represented by the dog, who was thus shrouding the world at midday. • Tlascaltecs [indigenous Mexicans], regarding the sun and the moon as husband and wife, believed eclipses to be domestic quarrels. - Rev. Timothy Harley (1885), Moon Lore
Violence: the aftermath • “Against the backdrop of dangerous superstitious beliefs, the Nigerian government has embarked on massive public enlightenment…to educate Nigerians about the upcoming solar eclipse…A partial eclipse in 1989 led to massive violence…where buildings were set ablaze by fanatics to 'atone for the sins of infidels’… [and] 28 persons were killed in the mayhem….”
Irony of Life • Tomorrow's dark sky is bringing shining days for the tourism industries in China and India. Tourism had been down because of the global recession and swine flu.
Ref • Good Ol’ Wiki • http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=101227§ionid=3510212 • http://solar-system-astronomy.suite101.com/article.cfm/solar_eclipse_incites_awe_fear_and_violence • http://www.sacred-texts.com/astro/ml/index.htm