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Astro*Dictionary by Michael Erlewine





9 articles for "Eclipse"

Eclipse [Prima]

Solar Eclipse – occurs at the New Moon, when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, casting a shadow on the Earth and blocking the Sun from our view.

Lunar Eclipse – occurs at the Full Moon, when the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon and the shadow of the Earth falls on the Moon, blocking it from our view.

Exact calculation of the eclipses is a complex astronomical problem. There is a simple rule, however, that could be applied to both types of eclipses, namely that a simultaneous conjunction of the Sun, Moon and one of Moon's Nodes should occur in order for an eclipse to take place. You may use PRIMA's Factor-Search for finding when these triple conjunctions occur.

See also:
♦ Annular Eclipse ♦ Lunar Eclipse ♦ Moon's Nodes ♦ Partial Lunar Eclipse ♦ Total Lunar Eclipse ♦ Penumbral Lunar Eclipse ♦ Solar Eclipse ♦ Partial Solar Eclipse ♦ Total Solar Eclipse
Eclipse [Munkasey M.]

The blocking of light from one body by another body. Eclipses of the Sun and the Moon are especially significant. See also: "Occultation", "Saros Cyrle", "Solar Eclipse", and "Lunar Eclipse".

See also:
♦ Annular Eclipse ♦ Lunar Eclipse ♦ Moon's Nodes ♦ Partial Lunar Eclipse ♦ Total Lunar Eclipse ♦ Penumbral Lunar Eclipse ♦ Solar Eclipse ♦ Partial Solar Eclipse ♦ Total Solar Eclipse
Eclipse [DeVore]

This phenomenon is one that involves Sun, Moon and Earth. There are two distinct types:

(1) that in which the Moon stands between the Sun and Earth, cutting off from our vision not only the light of the Sun, but the Sun itself. This is a Solar Eclipse, and occurs only at the time of a new Moon, when the Sun and Moon form a conjunction near one of the Nodes at which the orbits of the Earth and Moon intersect; and

(2) that in which the Earth cuts off from the Moon the light of the Sun, depriving it of its illumination but still leaving it in our line of vision as a dark and shadowy object. This is a Lunar Eclipse, and occurs only at the time of a Full Moon, when the Sun and Moon are in opposition, close to the Moon's nodes. An Eclipse of the Sun comes from the West; of the Moon, from the East.

An Eclipse can occur between the Sun, the Earth and a planet, but that is of infrequent occurrence; also between the Moon, the Earth and a planet, the Moon coming between the Earth and the planet. The Eclipse of a planet by the Moon is called an occultation (q.v.).

The position of a Solar Eclipse coincides with that of the Sun on that day. The position of a Lunar Eclipse coincides with the opposition point to the Sun's position on that day. Both Solar and Lunar Eclipses can occur at either Node. (q.v.) – The magnitude of an eclipse depends upon (1) the relative distances of the luminaries from the Earth; and (2) their distance from the Nodes. The duration of an eclipse depends on the relative rapidity of motion of the bodies.

The ancient rule was that the effects of a Solar eclipse last as long in years as the eclipse lasts in hours; of a Lunar eclipse, a month for every hour. From a Figure cast for the moment of commencement of the eclipse, events were deduced as affecting countries ruled by the ascending Sign, based upon the strength of the planets in the Signs and Houses.

Some modern authorities consider that the countries which lie within the eclipse shadow are probably those in which the events signified by the eclipse will be felt. In the Nativity, the eclipse is most powerful when it falls upon the birth position of a planet, luminary, or ascending degree.

Contrary to ancient superstitions, eclipses are not uniformly evil. One man's loss is often another's gain, and an eclipse in good aspect to a benefic under good directions can result favorably. Those on the places of the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, or M.C. and on the malefics are, however, unfavorable influences. Frequently their effects are not felt until some time thereafter, when another planet, principally Mars, transits over the degree on which the eclipse occurred. Thus an eclipse-degree becomes a sensitive point for several years after the eclipse has passed; in fact, until its consummation is attained with a subsequent transit of Saturn over the eclipse degree. Frequent reference to the following tables in connection with current or past events, will contribute vastly to an understanding of the major trends that are set into motion by the third dimension of the Moon's orbit – that which is vertical to the plane, marked midway by the passing of the Nodes.

The temperature on the Sunlit Full Moon exceeds the boiling point of water, at which time it emits infra-red rays that are several times more intense than the rays it reflects from the Sun. During the first five minutes of a Lunar Eclipse the surface temperature falls far below the freezing point, and the emission of the infra-red rays ceases.


Saros Cycle of Eclipses

The Plane of the Moon's Orbit has an inclination of 5-15 degrees to that of the Earth's orbit. Two opposite points of intersection of these orbits are the North or ascending Node, and the South or descending Node. These Nodes regree from month to month, and in approximately 19 years make a complete circle of the zodiac. In the following tables showing the nineteen Saros series, since each year one or more eclipses occur at each Node, separated roughly by half a year, the entire number of from 2 to 6 are listed as belonging to one Saros Series. Taking as the first of the series the group that follows the passing of the Node over 0° Aries, there result 19 series – after which each group repeats itself slightly altered.

It should be noted that a Solar Eclipse, caused by the passage of the apex of the Moon's shadow in a narrow path across the Earth some 70 miles in width, is visible only to a person located in the path. A Lunar Eclipse, partial or total, caused by the passage of the Moon into the Earth's shadow, is, however, visible all over the hemisphere that is turned toward the Moon.

If the Moon is at such distance from the Earth that the apex of its shadow falls short of the Earth's surface, the Moon's body will not entirely obliterate the Sun and a narrow rim of light will surround the dark body of the Moon. This is termed an Annular Eclipse. Sometimes an eclipse begins as an Annular Eclipse and then becomes total as the apex of the shadow approaches the equatorial* regions. This is called an Annular-Total Eclipse. Both are termed Umbral Eclipses. Where there is an appreciable separation in latitude there results a Partial Eclipse.

Because of the eight-hour fraction of a day, the umbral track of the eclipse shifts some 120° West at each return; hence on every fourth Saros return (54y 1m) it recurs in the same longitude, but somewhat farther North or South.

A complete Lunar cycle consists of 48 or 49 eclipses over a period of about 865 years; a solar cycle of 68 to 75 returns, over a period of about 1260 years. A Saros cycle consists usually of 14 partial, 17 annular and 10 total solar eclipses, and 29 Lunar eclipses – or a total of 70 eclipses.


Eclipse Limits

When a conjunction of Sun and Moon occurs within 18° 3" from either node, the major solar eclipse limit, a solar eclipse may occur; within 15° 21', the minor solar eclipse unit, a solar eclipse will occur; within 11° 15', the major central solar ecliptic limit, a total or annular eclipse may occur; within 9° 55', the minor central solar ecliptic limit, a total or annular eclipse will occur. When an opposition of Sun and Moon occurs near either node the major lunar ecliptic limit is 12° 15' and the minor 9° 30'; the major total lunar ecliptic limit is 3° 45' and the minor 6° 0'.

The series of Metonic returns bear no relationship to the Saros series. Meton's cycle of 19-year intervals consists of an eclipse in approximately the same degree of the zodiac on the same date 19 years later. Approximately 23% of Solar eclipses have no Metonic returns; 38% have 1 return; 19%, 2 returns; 13%, 3 returns; and 7%, 4 returns. A Metonic return may be of a different phase and nature, and belong to a different Saros series.

A Solar Eclipse begins as partial at one or the other poles, and increases in strength as it moves toward the Equator – finally fading away into outer space beyond the opposite pole. Thus an eclipse may be said to have a "birth" and a "death," with a life span of from 865 to 1252 years, or from 48 to 70 appearances.

Looking back to the "birth," or beginning partial (BP) of any series, you can, in delineating its recurring effects, take into consideration the Sign in which it first appeared, and the Ruler of the Sign.

The Solar Eclipse of June 8, 1937 in Gemini 18°, Saros series 11, which lasted for 7m 13s, was of longer duration than any in the last 1,200 years; although those of 1955 and 1973 will be almost as long. That on July 20, 1963 at 0° 28°, Saros series 1, will be one of the shortest, lasting 65s.

The Saros Cycle of 223 Lunar months was discovered by the Chaldeans. This is 18y 11d 8h, where 4 leap years are contained; otherwise, if 5 intervene, it is one day shorter; or if 3, one day longer. The series consists of 70 eclipses: 41 Solar, and 29 Lunar.


The Penumbral Eclipses

The Saros cycle is generally stated by astronomers to consist of 29 Solar eclipses in 1260y and 41 Lunar eclipses in 965y, making a total of 70 eclipses, on an average, for one complete series. However, each series of Lunar eclipses is both preceded and followed by about 10 periods of Penumbral eclipses, of some 180y duration. Since the Solar eclipse limit is much wider than that of the Lunar, a Lunar eclipse in the penumbra has an importance, astrologically, about equal to that of the Partial Solar eclipse, in that it embodies both the gravitational effect of a parallel, and the interference with normal radiation, that characterize all eclipses. An eclipse in the penumbra is generally termed an Appulse, in that the rim of the Moon just touches the Earth's shadow, while the body of the Moon receives the light of the Sun from only one side of the Earth, which during a portion of the time shuts off the light of part of the Sun's disc. By way of illustration, note Saros cycle 4, Lunar eclipse at the North Node: the last Lunar partial eclipse of the series (EP), October 7, 1930, 14° Aries, will be followed by Penumbral eclipses in 1948, 1966 and 1984. In Saros series ii is a continuing series at the South Node that follows an eclipse cycle which ended prior to the 200-year period covered by the tables: also in this series the Total Solar eclipse of June 20, 1955 is so close to the node that there is a penumbral eclipse both before and after it. Therefore when making note of the position of a Solar eclipse in any map it is advisable also to note as temporarily sensitized degrees, the Moon's opposition points to the Sun 14 days earlier and later, and check on their strength by reference to the tables of eclipses and the chronological list of Appulses for the years 1871 to 1959. Even if it is on neither list, it represents what is sometimes called "approximate eclipse conditions," and can become an important factor if it falls exactly upon the degree which posits a planet.

The ancients did not have the benefit of the modern Ephemerides. They actually studied the motion of the bodies in the heavens, and thereby discovered the various cycles that would enable them to calculate the intervals between successive recurrences of similar phenomena; therewith to make calculations of the psychological fluctuations that produce events. Among these were the Mercury cycle of 92 years, the Venus cycle of 486 years, the heliacal rising of Sirius in September every 162 years, the Metonic 19-year luni-solar cycle of eclipses, the mutation periods based on the conjunctions of the great chronocrators Jupiter and Saturn, and most important of all the solilunar Saros cycle and its multiples and derivatives. As this cycle brought the recurrence of the same eclipse 18 years and 10 days later, at a point about 10 degrees farther along the ecliptic, it was found that each third return, an interval of 54 years and 1 month, brought a similar return of a visible eclipse at about the same time of day; also that in 1:2 times that period, or 649 years, the cycle was completed with a Solar eclipse prior to the seventh month after the Autumnal equinox, then the beginning of the ecclesiastical year; and that the lunar eclipse two weeks later began a new 649-year cycle. It was by such means that most of the prophecies and the dates of their fulfillment as recorded in the Bible were arrived at.

The 15-year Solar cycle of the Chaldeans was a slightly different cycle: largely a chronological point of reference, arrived at by dividing the 360 degrees of the circle into 24 hourly segments of 15 degrees. On the basis of i degree to a year, it became a method of reckoning occurrences, terrestrial as well as celestial, in fifteen-year intervals. This cycle was adopted by the Romans as the period of reappraisals for taxation, and became known as the Indiction cycle. The Solar cycle of 28 years was the period in which the days of the week reoccurred on the same days of the month.

J. J. Scaliger devised the Julian period from the product of these three cycles: the 28-year Solar cycle, the 19-year Soli-Lunar cycle, and the 15-year Indiction cycle (28 x 19 x 15 = 7980), and made it begin January 1, 4713 B.C., when the three cycles coincided.

About 1896, J. B. Dimbleby began the reconciling of Biblical dates, and arrived at the conclusion that the historical records of the Anti- diluvian Epoch were based upon a 7-year Solar cycl@ne fourth of the Solar cycle as it was employed in a later epoch; and that after the deluge, chronology was recorded by the 15-year Solar cycle of the Chaldeans.

His chronology is thus given in successive years, beginning with the Creation year as 0 A.M. – Anno Mundi, "the year of the world" – thus avoiding much of the confusion incident to B.C. and A.D. dates. It begins with the eclipse that fell on the Autumnal Equinox, September 20, 3996 B.C., a year in which its two Solar eclipses fell in April and October, in which the Solar and Lunar years began simultaneously, and which coincides with the command recorded in Leviticus 23:24.

Few astrologers of today take the trouble to study the major cycles through means of which the ancient Biblical porphets were able to foresee the workings of Destiny - that man could stay if he would, but seldom does. It is certain that a study of the Eclipse cycles, and the application of modern adaptations to the study of the various cycles that were successfully used by the early astrologer-astronomers, will be productive of gratifying results.

See also:
♦ Annular Eclipse ♦ Lunar Eclipse ♦ Moon's Nodes ♦ Partial Lunar Eclipse ♦ Total Lunar Eclipse ♦ Penumbral Lunar Eclipse ♦ Solar Eclipse ♦ Partial Solar Eclipse ♦ Total Solar Eclipse
Eclipse Cycles [DeVore]

v. Saros.

See also:
♦ Saros ♦ Saros Cycle ♦ Metonic Return
Eclipse Method of Rectification [Astro*Index]

Jansky first step in rectifying a chart involved eclipses. The process runs along these lines. Think of a major event, crisis, or more extended intense period of activity. In the ephemeris, find the solar eclipse just preceding this period. Make the degree of the eclipse the center of the house most closely associated (symbolically) with the event or events. (Jansky observes that picking a single house is often no easy matter, because different areas of our lives overlap.) When the eclipse is conjunct a natal planet, the symbolism is also more difficult to sort out. Eclipse contacts, particularly with the angles, also represent a good opportunity to test the validity (proper birth time) of a chart.

See also:
♦ Rectification ♦ Solar Eclipse
Eclipse Paths [Astro*Index]

For a solar eclipse only. The geographical area defined on the earth by the shadow of the moon passing in front of the sun. Said to show an area where the influence of the eclipse is pronounced, whether on the people as a whole or on the leaders.

See also:
♦ Mundane Astrology [Emerson's Research]
Eclipse of Thales [DeVore]

May 28, 585 B.C., predicted by Thales of Miletus, and which stopped a battle in the war between the Medes and the Lydians. Other historic eclipses were that which occurred at noon in the first year of the Pcloponnesian War, when several stars became visible, presumed to havc occurred August 3, 432 B.C.; and that which occurred when Agathocles, King of Syracuse, was sailing with his fleet toward Africa, on Aug. I5, 310 B.C. Saying "The die is cast" Caesar crossed the Rubicon on the day of a Solar Eclipse, March 7, 51 B.C.

Eclipse Year [Astro*Index]

346.62005 days. The time in which the sun twice transits the ascending lunar node. The nodes have an 18.6 year orbit, equivalent to about 20 degrees per year. The sun, moving along the ecliptic at a rate of 1 degree per day, therefore meets the nodal axis about 20 degrees or 20 days earlier each year -- earlier because the nodal orbit is retrograde. If not for the difference between the synodic lunar year and the tropical solar year, this would mean that lunar eclipses, which occur when the full moon is close to one of its nodes, take place about 20 days earlier each year. But this fact shortens the period to 10 days or so, with each eclipse the full moon's separation from the node increasing, until finally there can be no eclipse and a particular sequence breaks. An example lunar eclipse sequence is as follows: ****** [time line, 1988-1998] The Saros Cycle of eclipses of based on an equivalence of 19 eclipse years and 223 lunar months, which means that eclipses coincide with a previous set of relative solar, lunar, and nodal positions every 223 months or 18 years 11.33 days (tropical measurement).

See also:
♦ Lunar Node ♦ Lunar Year ♦ Solar Year ♦ Saros Cycle
Eclipse Year [Munkasey M.]

The time between successive Sun returns to the Moon's ascending Node. For the Earth and Sun this is equal to 346.62 days.

See also:
♦ Lunar Node ♦ Lunar Year ♦ Solar Year ♦ Saros Cycle


Astro*Index Copyright © 1997 Michael Erlewine


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