Ads

Ads


3340 BC - The first recorded solar eclipse
The earliest known record of an eclipse is thought to have been created with carvings made on ancient stones.
It is located at the Loughcrew Cairn L Megalithic monument in Leinster, Ireland.
"The stone monuments are a lot like Stonehenge, and they have pictograms," Paul M Sutter, astrophysicist at Ohio State University and the Center of Science and Industry's chief scientist, told Sky News.
The stone drawings, he explained, followed a complicated code that showed records of lunar eclipses, depicting the shadow of the Moon passing over the Sun.
One etching, however, showed the reverse pattern.
When scientists analysed it they realised it illustrated the precise position of the Sun and Moon during a solar eclipse that took place in 3340 BC.
"We literally have 5000 years of recorded eclipses," Mr Sutter said. "It's amazing."

2134 BC - Chinese Emperor Chung K'ang
Records in Ancient China described solar eclipses as the Sun being eaten - by nothing less, many believed, than an extraterrestrial dragon.
To prevent the creature swallowing the Sun completely, some people would reportedly bang pots and pans to chase it away.
At an eclipse that took place around 2134 BCE, then, Emperor Chung K'ang was alerted to an eclipse by both the darkening sky and sudden noise.
The light eventually returned, but the emperor was furious his court astronomers had failed to predict the phenomena.
The two were reportedly beheaded on the emperor's orders.

610 BC - The first predicted eclipse
The astronomers were born too late: the first eclipses were predicted in ancient Greece.
"By that time people knew that eclipses repeat after a certain number of years," astronomer Nigel Henbest, who is monitoring this week's eclipse, told Sky News.
By looking at past patterns the philosopher Thales was able to predict when the next eclipse would happen: during a war, between the Median and the Lydian armies.
He did not, however, predict the consequences the phenomena might have had.
"The Sun disappeared from the sky and they were so amazed that they stopped fighting and signed a peace treaty," Mr Henbest said.
The account of the conflict-ending eclipse comes from the accounts of Herodotus, one of the era's most respected historians.

33 AD - Crucifixion of Christ
In biblical accounts, it is said that "darkness came over the land" for hours during the crucifixion of Christ - prompting some to speculate that the daytime blackout could have been caused by an eclipse.
NASA has even pinpointed an eclipse in 33 AD, the year Jesus is thought to have been crucified.
But, according to Mr Sutter, these accounts should be taken "with a grain of salt."
Most damning to this rumour, he explained, is that the crucifixion is recorded to have taken place just after Passover - which always falls during a phase of the moon when it's not possible for an eclipse to happen.
"There's nothing in the astronomical or historical record for something happening that's really unusual at that time," Mr Sutter said.

1831 - Nat Turner's slave rebellion
In August 1831, preacher Nat Turner led one of the bloodiest slave rebellions in US history, killing more than 55 white slave owners with a rebel force of the same number.
Earlier in his life Turner had been visited by visions of slaves liberating themselves as the Sun darkened.
And when he saw a solar eclipse in February 1831, he took it as a sign from God to begin planning the uprising. By August the plans were ready.
Turner went into hiding after the insurgency, but was later executed. The events became one of the most fiercely debated uprisings of the era, and inspired the 2016 film Birth Of A Nation.

1868 - The discovery of Helium
The unique conditions of an eclipse have allowed scientists to make impressive discoveries, including one realised by Jules Janssen as he watched a solar eclipse in India.
The scientist "was looking at the outer atmosphere of the Sun, and during the eclipse he noticed some strange colours," Mr Sutter told Sky News.
Janssen realised those colours were unique - the fingerprint, in fact, of an undiscovered element.
He named it after the word Helios, for Sun. Now, it is in our everyday vocabulary as helium.

1919 - Proving the theory of relativity
When Einstein formulated his theory of relativity, it wasn't accepted immediately. Some of its real-world consequences had to be proved first - with the help of an eclipse.
"In general relativity massive objects like the sun literally bend space beneath them, and this can bend the path of light" Mr Sutter said.
"The challenge was observing things close to the Sun."
Sir Arthur's solution? Waiting for the moon to block the sun out.
In 1919, the scientist travelled to the Gulf of Guinea during an eclipse. There, he made fiendishly complex measurements during the few moments light could be observed bending in the Sun's gravitational field.
His measurements showed that light was deflected in precisely the way the theory said it would - proving the theory and gaining Einstein worldwide fame.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Blog Archive

 
Top