By Frank Close
Seems to be on the technology of eclipses, unearths their function in tradition, and makes a speciality of those that go back and forth worldwide chasing those events.
summary: appears on the technological know-how of eclipses, unearths their function in tradition, and specializes in those that go back and forth worldwide chasing those occasions
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Additional info for Eclipse : journeys to the dark side of the moon
Thus it is that eclipse chasers located at a fixed spot on the earth’s surface are spun into the shadow and out again within a few minutes. Only those situated 20 Eclipse along this narrow track will experience totality; outside this band there is a much larger area, which covers perhaps two thousand miles from north to south, where the sun appears to be partially eclipsed. * * * * * In the years after that memorable midsummer afternoon at school, solar eclipses came around, but in Peterborough they were always partial.
Astronomers were charged to predict when an eclipse was due, so that crowds could be organised to make noise, beat drums, and fire arrows into the air to drive the dragon away. Unfortunately the Astronomers Royal, Hsi and Ho, failed to predict the eclipse. Their incompetence angered the Emperor who ordered their execution. That, at least, is the story, but it seems to me apocryphal. In some versions of the tale Hsi and Ho were supposedly drunk, hence their failure. A more sober interpretation of this tale might take into account that Hsi-Ho—‘brightness and harmony’—was the Chinese name for the sun goddess.
He illustrated this with a model. Being a sportsman, he chose a football to represent the earth, and a shiny new cricket ball for the moon. He completed the trio of essential players with a floodlight, which simulated the sun. Viewed from our perspective, the three were in a line. The floodlight was nearest to us, the football was next, and Mr Laxton, holding the cricket ball behind them, was back against the wall. He now pulled curtains over the windows to add to the room’s natural gloom, and switched on the floodlight.
Eclipse : journeys to the dark side of the moon by Frank Close