Well, one more day until the big event.
Historic EclipsesNovember 30, 3340 B.C.: A series of circular and spiral-shaped petroglyphs at the Loughcrew Megalithic Monument in County Meath, Ireland, are believed to correspond to a total solar eclipse visible in the region on that date. The discovery of charred human bones beneath a stone basin inside the monument only adds to the mystery of this site.
October 22, 2134 B.C.: One of the earliest solar eclipse records appears in the Shu Ching, an ancient Chinese book of documents. The ancient Chinese believed that a solar eclipse was the result of a large dragon eating the Sun. It was the job of two royal astronomers named Hsi and Ho to predict such events so that people could prepare bows and arrows to fend off the dragon. However, they shirked their duties in order to get drunk and were beheaded by the emperor as a result.
May 28, 585 B.C.: According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, a total solar eclipse brought about an unexpected ceasefire between two warring nations, the Lydians and the Medes, who had been fighting for control of Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) for five years. During the Battle of Halys, also known as the Battle of the Eclipse, the sky suddenly turned dark as the sun disappeared behind the moon. Interpreting the inexplicable phenomenon as a sign that the gods wanted the conflict to end, the soldiers put down their weapons and negotiated a truce.
August 27, 413 B.C.: At the height of the Peloponnesian War, a decades-long struggle between Athens and Sparta, Athenian soldiers found themselves locked in a losing battle to expel the Syracusians from Sicily. Their commander, Nicias, ordered a temporary retreat.
As the troops prepared to sail home, however, a lunar eclipse took place, prompting the highly superstitious Nicias to postpone the departure. The Syracusians took advantage of the delay to stage another attack, overcoming the Athenians and weakening their stronghold on the Mediterranean. According to many historians, the defeat in Sicily marked the beginning of the end of Athenian dominance.
29-32 A.D.: Christian gospels say the sky darkened after the crucifixion of Jesus. Some accounts suggest the event may have coincided with a solar eclipse. Historians have used astronomical records of solar eclipses in the years 29 C.E. or 32 C.E. to try to pinpoint the death of Jesus.
May 5, 840: The third son of Charlemagne, Louis the Pious inherited a vast empire in what is now modern-day France when his father died in 814. His reign was marked by dynastic crises and fierce rivalry between his sons. A deeply religious man who earned his nickname by performing penance for his sins, Louis reportedly became terrified of an impending punishment from God after witnessing a solar eclipse. According to legend, he died of fright shortly thereafter, plunging his fractured kingdom into a civil war that didn’t end until the historic Treaty of Verdun in 843.
February 29, 1504: Twelve years after his momentous landing at San Salvador, Christopher Columbus was exploring the Central American coast when woodworms attacked his ship, causing leaks and forcing him to make an emergency stop in Jamaica. He and his crew spent more than a year there awaiting relief. The indigenous people of the island welcomed the men, offering them food and shelter, but cut off their supplies when some of Columbus’ crew members began stealing from them.
Hoping to impress his hosts and regain their support, Columbus consulted the almanac he had brought with him and read about an upcoming total lunar eclipse. He told the Jamaicans that the gods were unhappy with them for failing to provide assistance and that they would show their disapproval by turning the moon a bloody red color. The eclipse occurred on schedule, and the astonished Jamaicans promised to resume feeding Columbus and his crew.
Hope you enjoy the consequences related to this one.