Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Lunar Eclipse Over an Indian Peace Pagoda
Posted on 12/14/2011 4:33:28 PM PST by SunkenCiv
Explanation: Our Moon turned red last week. The reason was that during December 10, a total lunar eclipse occurred. The above digitally superimposed image mosaic captured the Moon many times during the eclipse, from before the Moon entered Earth's shadow until after the Moon exited. The image sequence was recorded over a Shanti Stupa Peace Pagota near the center of New Delhi, India. The red tint of the eclipsed Moon was created by sunlight first passing through the Earth's atmosphere, which preferentially scatters blue light (making the sky blue) but passes and refracts red light, before reflecting back off the Moon. Differing amounts of clouds and volcanic dust in the Earth's atmosphere make each lunar eclipse appear differently. The next total lunar eclipse will occur only in 2014.
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[Credit & Copyright: Chander Devgun (SPACE)]
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Cool photo with a crapload of exposures needed.
What’s also interesting is that very few Indians saw it either. To Hindus, the eclipse is a manifestation of the demon Rahu swallowing the moon. They are advised not to look at the eclipse, and to spend the time praying to god and fasting.
Interesting picture. Several years ago, the space shuttle passed over my house on its way to landing at Cape Canaveral (This was at night). It left a brillian orange contrail for only a few minutes. Except for the color, the photo reminds me of that night.
Aryabhata (476550 AD) was the first in the line of great mathematician-astronomers from the classical age of Indian mathematics and Indian astronomy. His most famous works are the Aryabhatiya (499 AD, when he was 23 years old) and the Arya-siddhanta.
Aryabhata is the author of several treatises on mathematics and astronomy, some of which are lost. His major work, Aryabhatiya, a compendium of mathematics and astronomy, was extensively referred to in the Indian mathematical literature and has survived to modern times. The mathematical part of the Aryabhatiya covers arithmetic, algebra, plane trigonometry, and spherical trigonometry. It also contains continued fractions, quadratic equations, sums-of-power series, and a table of sines.
The Arya-siddhanta, a lost work on astronomical computations, is known through the writings of Aryabhata's contemporary, Varahamihira, and later mathematicians and commentators, including Brahmagupta and Bhaskara I. This work appears to be based on the older Surya Siddhanta and uses the midnight-day reckoning, as opposed to sunrise in Aryabhatiya. It also contained a description of several astronomical instruments: the gnomon (shanku-yantra), a shadow instrument (chhAyA-yantra), possibly angle-measuring devices, semicircular and circular (dhanur-yantra / chakra-yantra), a cylindrical stick yasti-yantra, an umbrella-shaped device called the chhatra-yantra, and water clocks of at least two types, bow-shaped and cylindrical.
A third text, which may have survived in the Arabic translation, is Al ntf or Al-nanf. It claims that it is a translation by Aryabhata, but the Sanskrit name of this work is not known. Probably dating from the 9th century, it is mentioned by the Persian scholar and chronicler of India, Abu Rayhan al-Biruni.
Solar and lunar eclipses were scientifically explained by Aryabhata. Aryabhata states that the Moon and planets shine by reflected sunlight. Instead of the prevailing cosmogony in which eclipses were caused by pseudo-planetary nodes Rahu and Ketu, he explains eclipses in terms of shadows cast by and falling on Earth. Thus, the lunar eclipse occurs when the moon enters into the Earth's shadow (verse gola.37). He discusses at length the size and extent of the Earth's shadow (verses gola.3848) and then provides the computation and the size of the eclipsed part during an eclipse. Later Indian astronomers improved on the calculations, but Aryabhata's methods provided the core. His computational paradigm was so accurate that 18th century scientist Guillaume Le Gentil, during a visit to Pondicherry, India, found the Indian computations of the duration of the lunar eclipse of 30 August 1765 to be short by 41 seconds, whereas his charts (by Tobias Mayer, 1752) were long by 68 seconds.
Ansari, S.M.R. (March 1977). “Aryabhata I, His Life and His Contributions”. Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of India 5 (1): 1018. Bibcode 1977BASI....5...10A.
Indeed. I have always felt that more attention needs to be given in Western education to the incredible developments of the Indic cultures. Far too much emphasis is given to the middle-east and southwest asia as being the font of mathematics and other scientific development, but the truth is they pillaged it from the much older India.
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Not news, but very cool. Thanks SunkenCiv!
I agree with TheOldLady! (:
Well, that’s sad. Talk about being afraid of one’s own shadow...
...Clouds and rain for this one. Another miss.
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