Dec 28, 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse Images and superstitions associated with eclipses

On December 10, 2011 we were fortunate enough to be in Shegaon to be able to watch the total lunar eclipse from completely non-polluted area of Anand Sagar. Air pollution and lights in the cities often deteriorate the quality of viewing such events. 

I tried to capture that beauty into the camera, but that wasn't easy since I do not have DSLR camera. I had to do some experiments in different modes in my digital camera. I used full 40x zoom (10x optical and 4x digital) and finally selected Shutter Speed Priority mode rather than Auto mode. Also at 40x zoom,  if you do not have the tripod, with even a slightest of handshake, the distant object goes out of focus quickly. So I sat on the floor and kept my camera on a bench so as to provide the support to the camera from beneath.  Even I needed to hold the breath for a while so as to reduce the body shake. With all these efforts, I could finally capture that beauty. 

Lets have a look at the clicks now.

Just before the start

In the last picture, moon is hardly visible. 

I always get amazed to see the celestial bodies moving in tandem and in perfect synchronisation. Equally fascinating is the fact that Indians had that knowledge, thousands of years ago and were able to do the precise calculations of timings for these events. 

At the same time, its not a happy feeling that in modern times people are more superstitious and deny themselves the opportunity to view such a spectacular event. And that is the case even with a highly educated class with a science background as well. 

Actually all these eclipses are just the game of shadows. Still people have some beliefs and do some acts, some of which are cited below:

1) Some monsters like Rahu, Ketu swallow Moon and the Sun at the time of eclipses. 

2) It is harmful for health to eat or drink during eclipses, even before actual eclipse gets visible and just the First Contact starts.

3) Taking a bath after the eclipse is over. (bathing is good otherwise for hygiene, but there is no necessity to do that after the eclipse)

4) Covering drinking water and eatables at home (now this we do in normal practice as well for maintaining hygiene, but people are more keen to do this during eclipses) 

5) Keeping Tulsi leaves on drinking water and eatables at home. 

6) Making donations so that eclipse comes to an end (donations are even good otherwise, but eclipse is certain to come to an end at a pre-defined precise time, whether you donate or not)

7) Keeping themselves immersed in holy river till the time eclipse is there.  

8) Its bad for eyes to see with naked eyes. ( It is true for Solar Eclipse, since the Sun being the brightest source of light is behind the moon and its rays are harmful for naked eyes. But in lunar eclipse, its purely the shadow of Earth on the moon and the intensity of light is actually even dimmer than the normal full moon. So it is perfectly safe to see the Lunar Eclipse with naked eyes)

9) The strength of evil spirits increases during eclipse and there are bad omens everywhere. Does that even need a comment here? 

10) One should not travel during the eclipse. 

11) Air is polluted during the eclipse. 

12) Pregnant women should not come out of the house during eclipse. 

Personally speaking I don't believe in any of these superstitions. I enjoyed the view with my complete family and we did that while eating as well.

Detailed post on our Shegaon visit is here:

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