20 Facts, Beliefs on Solar Eclipse

Today, March 20, 2015 marks the occurrence of three important astronomical phenomena. These are total solar eclipse in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, a supermoon and the spring equinox. This day is indeed a rare day in the history of earth. However, in this post a discussion of facts and myths about this total solar eclipse is presented.    

1. Total Solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, completely covering the sun and completely casting a shadow on a particular region on earth.

2. Solar eclipses happen very often in a year, most of them are unnoticed. However, this solar eclipse will be seen throughout Europe. Total sun coverage will be seen in the Artic Norwegian island Svalbard and the Faroe Island. In Oslo and neighboring cities, everyone will see the sun will be covered by at much 95%.

3. The solar eclipse lasts in Oslo for about 2 hours starting from 9.57 to 12.02. The peak of the eclipse will be seen at about 11 o'clock in the morning.

3. The last solar eclipse of this kind was seen in Oslo last January 2011.

4. The solar eclipse provides opportunities to study the sun's superficial layer known as corona, as to why it is hotter in temperature than the sun's inner layers. In addition, during a  solar eclipse, scientists tested Einstein's theory of relativity.

5. There is a possibility of massive energy problems related to solar energy production during the eclipse. However, the said event is mitigated since eclipses are predicted.

6. Eclipses are predicted as early 2500 B.C. by Babylonians and ancient Chinese.

7. The probability of total eclipse occurring in a same region is about once in more than 300 years.

8. The eclipse on this day happens during the spring equinox, when the length of daytime and nightime hours are equal. This means that today marks halfway between the shortest day and the longest day in this year. Astronomically, spring starts on this day in the Northern Hemisphere.

9. A supermoon is also expected to accompany the solar eclipse and the spring equinox. A supermoon happens when the distance between earth and the moon is at its closest. This shows the path of earth around the sun is not perfectly round, and the sun is not perfectly situated on the center of the earth's orbit. The elliptical path produces equinox in March and September.

10. Many spectators are expected to witness these astronomical occurrences particularly the total solar eclipse. Many tourists have already booked hotels in Svalbard, a Norwegian territory in the artic circle. Unfortunately, one tourist has been attacked by a polar bear, which abounds in the area. Aside from general safety precautions on observing the eclipse, everyone are reminded to protect their eyes, when directly seeing the sun. The UV rays can cause irreversible damage to one's eyes.

Myths, Beliefs and Superstitions    

1. In astrology, today marks beginnings and endings in relationships or aspects in one's life. In addition, challenges are expected to accompany eclipses days before and after the astronomical phenomena.

2. Eclipses are thought to bring misfortune and bad omens as the moon covers the sun, many think evil has triumphed over good at this time. Many believe that everyone needs to be extra careful during this day.

3. Eclipses are not good for health of pregnant mothers. This may even trigger premature births or miscarriages. Some also associate supermoon, fullmoon and eclipses to increase delivery rates among pregnant mothers.

4. Eclipses are said to cause the sky bloody red, signaling that eminent wars and significant changes in world history is certain.

5. In Italy, flowers planted during eclipse are said to be more beautiful than those planted during regular days.

6. In Viking society, solar eclipse is due to wolves eating the sun, while in Vietnam, frogs are thought to be swallowing the sun.

7. In China, solar eclipses define the worth of their emperors, such that it is considered to be an important milestone that needs to be correctly predicted.

8. In India, people are warned to be extra careful in ingesting food such that they fear being poisoned during this time.

9. In Greece, ancient people think gods are angry during solar eclipses such that their wrath can cause destruction and misfortune. In Korea, mythical dogs are said to cause this.     

10. Many follows traditional practices during eclipses. Many do fasting. Others need to make noise from pots. In African country of Togo, solar eclipses remind the community for reconciliation. Instead of being afraid, they celebrate for this event.

Lastly, today is an ordinary day for everyone to live normally. Everyone must be reminded that what matters most is how we live our lives for us to be happy, and not merely depending on what happens on our environment, including astronomical phenomena, which are both regular and natural.


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