What is a solar eclipse?
During a Solar eclipse the Sun, Moon and Earth are in a straight line and the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth due to which the rays of the sun are blocked from reaching the Earth. This darkens the sky as if it is night time.
There are three kinds of solar eclipses –
Total – During a total solar eclipse, the Moon fully blocks the Sun with the people on Earth unable to see it and there being complete darkness.
Partial – During a partial solar eclipse, the Moon covers a part of the Sun making a uncovered part of sun visible to the people.
Annular – During an annular solar eclipse, the Moon covers the Sun fully, but due to its relatively small size the outer ring of the Sun is completely visible to the people.
Why the Annular solar Eclipse is being called – ‘Ring of fire’?
The Moon will cover the Sun from the center leaving a ring of light visible in the sky. This will happen as the Moon will be far away from Earth, which will make its relative size not big enough to cover the Sun completely.
The annular solar eclipse on June 21 will first start for the people of Congo in Africa and progress through South Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the Indian Ocean and Pakistan, before entering India over Rajasthan. From India, the annular phase will be visible in the morning of 21st June during the hours ~9.15 am to ~3.00 pm IST from some places within a narrow corridor of the northern part of the country (parts of Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttarakhand) and it will be seen as partial solar eclipse from the rest part of the country. This eclipse has said to be of the highest magnitude at the instant of Greatest Eclipse among all the annular solar eclipses between 2003 and 2031. The next annular solar eclipse with a higher magnitude is predicted to be on September 12, 2034. The visibility of Ring is said be visible for very short duration of approximately 1- 1.5 minutes.
According to the Hindu mythology Eclipses or Grahan are considered to be inauspicious . The sun, which is worshiped as a major life force in the universe, disappears during the solar eclipse, making it an omen of all things evil. The absence of the sun’s rays can increase the amount of bacteria and germs in the atmosphere, thereby polluting people.
Similarly in various other mythologies its about the Sun being swallowed, eaten to a bit or stolen by different animals/creatures like in India – Rahu (There is a whole story of Amrit Manthan), China – celestial dragon, Vietnam – giant frog, Korea – mythical Dogs, United States – Bear. The ancient Greeks believed that a solar eclipse was a sign of angry gods and that it was the beginning of disasters and destruction.
Here are some of the Myths that people follow in India during solar eclipses:
- Worshiping or touching gods is strictly prohibited during this period. Even temple doors usually stay closed during eclipses. After the eclipse ends, the idols are supposed to be washed with Ganga water to purify them.
- Meditation, chanting hymns or mantras and singing devotional songs during an eclipse are supposed to protect one from the evil effects.
- The rules dictate that no food should be cooked during the eclipse. Leftovers are finished off before the period of the eclipse. Some people in India leave tulsi or Indian basil leaves on cooked food items, and cover them to keep them safe.
- Sleeping, urination, defecation, sexual intercourse and makeup are also prohibited during the eclipse. Pregnant women are considered to be especially susceptible to the evil forces during eclipses. Not only are they supposed to abstain from activities like cutting vegetables and stitching clothes, but in some parts of India, they’re not even supposed to sit with their legs crossed.
- After the eclipse is over, people are directed to take a bath, and change into fresh and clean clothes. Sprinkling of Ganga water or taking a dip in the Ganga is also supposed to wash away the evil done by the eclipse.
However, there are no Scientific basis to these myths/claims and they have been debunked by the scientists and astronomers around the world. However, they do emphasize that anyone watching a solar eclipse must protect their eyes.
If you’ve ever watched a solar eclipse you know how exciting the experience can be and also how quickly the experience can go by.
If you are one of the photographers then it would definitely excite you and would be an opportunity to capture the eclipse to your best skills. If you are one of them and have the best of your captures to share and showcase with us, drop an email to – firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to have it in our gallery!
Categories: Light Reads