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Sunday, 30 November 2014


Chinese royal astronomers Hsi and Ho were beheaded in 2134 BC as punishment for failing to predict an eclipse.

A Syrian clay tablet, in the Ugaritic language, recorded a solar eclipse which occurred on March 5, 1223 B.C.

The Eclipse of Bur-Sagale was observed in Assyria on June 15, 763 BC, the earliest solar eclipse mentioned in historical sources that has been successfully identified.  It was later used to fix the chronology of Mesopotamian history.

The Battle of Halys between the Medes and the Lydians was being fought on May 28, 585 BC near the Halys River in what is now central Turkey when an eclipse of the sun was seen by both sides. Stunned, both armies laid down their weapons, and they agreed to a truce.

The 585 BC eclipse had been predicted by the Greek philosopher and scientist Thales of Miletus , who forewarned the Ionians of it, fixing for it the very year in which it actually took place.

By Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak and Jean Meeus (NASA's GSFC) - NASA, Wikipedia Commons

Because astronomers can calculate the dates of historical eclipses, some describe the Battle of Halys as the earliest historical event whose date is known with precision to the day

Th Greek philosopher, Pappus of Alexandria, observed an eclipse of the Sun om October 18, 320 AD and wrote a commentary on The Great Astronomer.

By I, Luc Viatour, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia Commons

Charlemagne's third son Louis the Pious (778 – 840) died when an eclipse quite literally frightened him to death.

During his fourth voyage westwards Christopher Columbus was anchored off Jamaica and rations were low (the natives wouldn't trade him any.)  The explorer learned from his Zacuto almanac that on 29/2/1504 there was to be an eclipse of the moon. Columbus summoned the Jamaican chiefs and told them if they don’t give him food he had the power to blot out the moon. They laughed but then the eclipse begun. The terrified natives begged him to bring the moon back and they would give him what he wanted.

French astronomer Pierre Jules César Janssen discovers helium in 1868, while analyzing the chromosphere of the sun during a total solar eclipse in Guntur, India.

On August. 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible across the United States. The last total solar eclipse visible from the U.S. mainland happened on February 26, 1979, but this one is different. The eclipse’s ‘path of totality’ is completely within U.S. soil for the first time since 1776.

Jupiter can have a triple eclipse, in which three moons cast shadows on the planet simultaneously.

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