The Wide Path of Totality Will Make 2017 Total Eclipse Unique
Black hole sun is not going to be just another hit this year. People have seen a total eclipse from land only a couple of times in the past. It is hard to observe because of the relative positions of the moon and sun. Most of the times, the path of totality falls on the ocean surfaces making it hard for people to reach the centerline. Then there are times when the totality is for only a couple of seconds, and hardly any observations are possible during that window.
There have only been a couple of eclipses that have gone down in history. Here are a few of the instances where the cosmic spectacle left people hankering for more –
- The Great American Eclipse 2017
All right, we know it is yet to happen, but this one will go down in history as one of the most famous astronomic miracles. The path of totality will be about 70 miles wide, and this will give plenty of chance to the commoners to enjoy the marvels of the universe. This event will be particularly rare for the ease of access. The moon’s shadow will travel almost 70 miles across the continental America before it goes to the Atlantic Ocean.
- Einstein’s eclipse
Theory of relativity would have been a hypothesis without this eclipse. During 1919, the moon covered the sun completely for 6 minutes and 51 seconds. Einstein took this opportunity to prove his theory of general relativity. Scientists used this rare opportunity to study the bending of light around the sun.
- King Henry’s Eclipse
King Henry I of England’s death coincided with the total solar eclipse of 1133 AD. This darkness lasted for about 4 minutes and 38 seconds. Many people link their beloved king’s death with the eclipse. Some lores speak about the “hideous darkness.” William of Malmesbury recollects in his manuscript, “Historia Novella” about the two incidents that were almost simultaneous.
- Ugarit eclipse
This is one of the oldest eclipses recorded in history. The skies went dark for about 2 minutes and 7 seconds. A clay tablet found in 1948 from the sites of Mesopotamian civilization speaks of this event in great detail.
- Assyrian eclipse
This happened in 763 BC. The eclipse lasted for about 5 minutes. This occurred in the Assyrian Empire (now Iraq). Inscriptions from this time mention this eclipse in the same passage as the insurrection in Ashur.
- Eclipse in China
The earliest known eclipse recorded in China was in 1302 BC. The moon blocked out the sun for over 6 minutes and 25 seconds. This was one of the most impactful events in oriental astronomy. According to a 2003 Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage article, the emperor instructed his soldiers to rescue the sun following the totality.