The Longest Solar Eclipse

In the Indian village of Surat in Gujarat, sunrise will mark the start of a total solar eclipse that is expected to last for a long time, at least as far as solar eclipses go: 6 minutes and 44 seconds. The next solar eclipse is not scheduled to happen until the year 2132.

In actuality, the moon's umbra, which is the cone shaped part of its shadow, will descend upon the Gulf of Khambhat in India. Then the moon's shadow will continue to gradually move across Asia and the South Pacific before finally removing itself from the Earth somewhere near the Marshall Islands about 3 and half hours later.

The path of the eclipse will measure nearly 9,500 miles with the maximum duration of the eclipse happening only once the moon's shadow is directly over the Pacific.

And while this remarkable event will only be seen in India and Asia, those people living in North America will be able to watch the solar eclipse live through streaming video online.

Even though this long solar eclipse is an extraordinary event, there are a many people who believe that this eclipse is a not a good omen.

Indian Astrologers foresee violence and utter turmoil breaking out across the world.

Rahu and Ketu, two demons in Hindu mythology, are supposed to be swallowing the sun during solar eclipses, thereby extinguishing its life giving light and warmth and rotting food and souring milk.

Pregnant Indian women have been warned to stay inside so as to prevent their unborn children from developing any birth defects.

Due to a belief that is deeply rooted in Indian mythology, most hospitals across India have had to reschedule caesarian deliveries as well. A gynecologist at the Fortis Hospital in New Delhi, Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour explains that, "This is a belief deeply rooted in Indian society. Couples are willing to do anything to ensure that the baby is not born on that day".

However, people are being encouraged to participate in fasting, prayers and ritual bathing in holy rivers during this time.

Other Indian astrologers are predicting an increase in violence, both locally and globally, for the days after the eclipse, most importantly across India, China and other Southeast Asian countries. Basically the prediction covers any country where the solar eclipse can be viewed.

Raj Kumar Sharma, an astrologer from Mumbai, has predicted "some sort of attack by (Kashmiri separatists) Jaish-e-Mohammad or Al-Qaeda on Indian soil" as well as the occurrence of a destructive natural disaster in Southeast Asia.

He went on to predict that a prominent Indian political leader could be killed and that there would also be increased tension between Iran and the West, which could possibly escalate into US military action sometime after the 9th of September 20099, as this when Saturn is scheduled to move away from Leo and into Virgo.

"The last 200 years, whenever Saturn has gone into Virgo there has been either a world war or a mini world war," he explained.

Superstitions and predications of doom have also come from China and other Southeast Asian countries.

During the ancient Chinese times, solar eclipses were always linked with either a natural disaster, the death of an Emperor, or another sinister event. Such superstitions have been passed down through the generations and are still prevalent amongst today's Chinese people.

A popular Chinese website,, reported that:

"The probability for unrest or war to take place in years when a solar eclipse happens is 95 percent."

No matter how many negative predications have been spoken, most people are excited about the prospect of viewing this very long eclipse.

Cox and Kings, a travel firm, is planning on leasing a Boeing 737-700 aircraft, staffed with expert astronomers. Passengers have paid close to $1600 for a seat on this three hour flight from New Delhi, just so that can watch the eclipse from 41,00 feet.

President of the SPACE Group of companies that promotes science and astronomy, Ajay Talwar, explained that the shadow of the eclipse will pass across the aircraft at 15 times the speed of sound.

"It's coming in the middle of the monsoon season. On the ground, there's a 40 percent chance of seeing it in India. On the aircraft you have almost a 90 percent chance of seeing the eclipse," he added.

Yet another astrologer, Siva Prasad Tata, explains the significance of the solar eclipse as:

"There's no need to get too alarmed about the eclipse, they are a natural phenomenon. During the period of the eclipse, the opposite attracting forces are very, very powerful. From a spiritual point of view, this is a wonderful time to do any type of worship. It will bring about good results, much more than on an ordinary day."

Photo Credit: JunCTionS

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