Saturday, July 29, 2017

A CRITICAL REVIEW OF ECLIPSES AND THE GREAT SOLAR ECLIPSE OF 2017




 A CRITICAL REVIEW OF ECLIPSES AND THE GREAT SOLAR ECLIPSE OF 2017
(Compilation for a Discourse by N. R. Srinivasan, Nashville, TN, August 2017)

INTRODUCTION
Our sages have realized that the manifested Universe has sprung out of the Supreme Spirit and that each fragment of this Universe is influenced by the rest of the Universe and vice versa.  Through their keen observation of the sky above and by their yogic powers, the sages perceived perfect harmony and order in the movements of the heavenly bodies.  In a bold effort to measure time and pinpoint any given moment of time, they utilized this characteristic of the Universe and devised a marvelous moment scale of time measurement, starting from Kshana   all the way up to the life- span of the Creator Brahma.  Closely watching the solar system to which the earth belongs, our sages observed the apparent path covered by the earth in relation to sun (called elliptic), recurred periodically with rhythmic precision.  Likewise, they noticed that the moon's path in relation to Earth also recurred at regular intervals.  Based on these observed phenomena, they gained the ability to precisely forecast the timing of the celestial events.  They thus gave the mankind a system of measurement, by which the correct time for observance of religious rite in accordance with scriptural injections could be determined though it lost its significance today to some extent by the manipulative and materialistic astrologers with their marketing ability for people of blind faith.  This was the history of development of our Panchangams (Hindu Almanac).  The elliptical plane in modern science is defined as the imaginary plane containing the earth's orbit around the sun.  In the course of a year, the earth's apparent path through the sky lies in this elliptical plane.  The planetary bodies of our solar system all tend to lie near this plane, since they were formed from the sun's spinning, flattened, proto-planetary disk.  Probably our sages living on earth too considered earth to be a stationary body and sun and moon to be rotating bodies.  It is true Sun too spins around itself but relative to earth's speed looks stationery.   Probably the divines living far away from Earth moving in Sun felt the Earth is stationery?    But why Earth the most celebrated planet in Vedas is not included in Navagrahas is not explained anywhere! Moon is a satellite of earth at a far off distance.  Anything going around a Sun (star) is called a planet (graham).  Anything going around a planet (graham) is called a satellite (moon).  Our sun's diameter is approximately 400 times larger than that of our moon.  Our moon lies roughly 400 times farther away from our sun.  Both the disks appear to be the same to the human eyes on earth, just because our eyes look at them with different angles.
There is no evidence that eclipses have any physical effect on humans. However, eclipses have always been capable of producing profound psychological effects. For millennia, solar eclipses have been interpreted as portents of doom by virtually every known civilization. These have stimulated responses that run the gamut from human sacrifices to feelings of awe and bewilderment. Although there are no direct physical effects involving known forces, the consequences of the induced human psychological states have indeed led to physical effects.
In Astrology stars (Nakshatra) is only one of the 27 segments of the Zodiac Belt where as in Astronomy stars are heavenly bodies twinkling in the sky. The segment in which Moon lies at the time of birth is called Janma Nakshatra or birth star. Each Nakshatra has its particular power or Shakti. These are also the powers of the Devatas or the deities ruling the Nakshatras. Each of these Shaktis has its effect above and its effect below, and the final result of these three factors. The imagery is of common factors of plants, healing, worship, marriage and death. This is a teaching that derives from an ancient Vedic text called Taittiriya Brahmana I.5.1 and from the commentary of Bhattabhaskara Mishra which you can see in my discourse “Why Navagraha Altars are absent in Vishnu Temples”.      Our modern astrologers have brought in many myths moving away from Vedic astrology called Jyotisha in Vedas. You will see the differing views from our modern Gurus and scientists in this discourse incidentally.
I have come across a key article on the above subject by David Frawley on the Shakti or power of the 27 Nakshatras of Hindu  Month   (Aswini to Rohini) and their presiding deities based on Vedic Astrology with his comments.  Rightly he does not talk about Rahu or Ketu here or other  dreaded planets in modern astrology though speaks of three kinds of Serpent Devatas ruling over Aslesha, Poorvaabhadra and Uttraabhaadra.  Among the Navagrahas only mention is made of Sun, Moon and Brihaspati (Guru)   as presiding deities. There is no mention of rest of the Grahas   Kuja, Sani, Rahu and Ketu   presiding over any Nakshatra about which modern astrology makes us so scared as affecting our lives. It is also heartening to note Vedic Astrology gives importance to Planet Earth as Aditi glorified in Veda mantras as the ruling deity of Punarvasu Nakshatra.   
I need not talk about the most celebrated astronomical deities Sun and Moon here.  Planet Earth that is absent in Navagraha altars   is worshiped as the consort of Vishnu in all Vishnu temples in South India. Brihaspati (Jupiter) is the most revered benevolent planet in Vedic astrology.  Jupiter in Hinduism   is   significant for religious and spiritual activities.    Jupiter is the planetary ruler for Thursdays in the Vedic calendar. Thursdays are known as Guruvara or the day of the Guru. Astronomically, Pushya Nakshatra is situated from 3 degrees 20 minutes Cancer to 16 degrees 40 minutes Cancer.  Jupiter’s greatest exaltation is at 5 degrees Cancer. This is when we can most optimize our spiritual practices and nurture others.   India honors this planet by declaring Gurupurnima as a religious Holiday. This year it was on July 8. I have talked in detail on the importance and significance of this day. 

Are we to believe in horoscopes and run to Navagraha altars? Horoscope or Horrorscope is all about how the planets are influencing  our lives. Planets are inanimate things. Should inanimate things decide the course of our destiny?  If we are focused on Supreme let every planet go wherever it wants to go, we will go where we want to go!
DARSANODAYA--EARLY HINDU THOUGHTS 
There are references in the Upanishads to the “sunless worlds”, covered with blinding darkness   in which   men wander to delusion (Moha) and sorrow to confusion, to fetters, to fear, and to evils. So they raised their voices to the Supreme “tamaso maa jyotir gamaya” Lead me from darkness to light to get free, to get rid of fear, to become deathless, to get rid of impurities, to overcome confusion  etc. Closely watching the sky they noticed sudden darkness overpowering Sun in broad day light and Moon on bright Poornima nights. This they called as Grahana or captivity being of temporary nature. This was like dark clouds that often   hold rain in captivity,   holding the sun and Moon likewise, during their cyclic activity disturbing the orderliness and normal functioning.
In the earliest description   a demon (Swarbhanu), using magic makes the sun disappear from the sky with devastating consequences for humans and gods. The gods then appeal to the great sage Atri to undo the magic of the demon. Atri obliges and undoes the magic of the demon and the Sun is restored to his original glory. In a later book Panchavimsa Brahmana (Subbarayappa 2008) dated to between 900 and 600 BC, the description of the eclipse is more detailed. Here it is said that at the eclipse the Sun originally becomes black, then silvery and eventually red before returning to its original glory. One can identify these colors with modern descriptions of eclipses starting from totality according to TIFR research findings.

Vedic astrologers observing closely the movements of celestial objects were able to predict the occurrences of eclipses.  This we know from the ancient records and Puranas like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Taittariya Brahmana, Tandya Brahman and Sankahya   that mention about eclipses.  They observed that like the demonic dark clouds overpower and cover the Sun and the Moon   certain planets overcome light and positive influence and create temporary darkness. Taittariya Brahmana mentions a Solar Eclipse which was witnessed by Sage Atri.
Aryabhata gave the complete formulation of the eclipses. He used the concept of Rahu and Ketu to describe the ascending and descending nodes of the point of intersection of the Lunar and Solar orbits.   These are then transformed into specific moving points of a periodicity of 18.6 years and a conjunction of Rahu and Ketu with Sun and Moon are identified as periods of eclipse.

TIFR Research findings has the following to say: “In 499 AD the great Indian mathematician and astronomer, Aryabhata explained that the eclipses occur because either the moon comes between the sun and the earth or the moon goes into the shadow of the earth. Using purely geometrical arguments and the relative sizes of the object, he gave an excellent formulation of the calculation of eclipse parameters. Prior to him, the methods of tracing the line of movement of the Sun and the moon were known and hence combining the two it became possible to scientifically understand and explain the date, time and nature of eclipse around 500 AD. Later Indian astronomical texts on mathematical astronomy have devoted tradition continued over time, and the calculations are available even today. It is also noted that even at conjunction if the vertical separation is more than the sum of the angular radii of the Sun and the Moon, then no eclipse would occur. This method allowed predictions of exact date and time of eclipse, their type and the place where it would be visible. Subsequently all texts discuss predictions of eclipses”.

CURRENT THOUGHTS ON SOLAR AND LUNAR ECLIPSES
Here on Earth, we can experience two kinds of eclipses: solar eclipses and lunar eclipses. Our Panchangams accurately predict these eclipses as to the time, duration and location. But their interpretation of eclipse as a significant religious event seems to be wrong at least the way it is projected by Puranas. Also in their false pride Panchangams have refused to conflate with modern astronomy. As I have said before, we celebrate Uttarayana Punyakala  that is the Winter Solstice Day  that falls on December 22 every year on  Makara Sankranti Day on  January 14, against our scriptural injunctions mandated by Bhagavad Gita  (tasmaat saasterm pramaanam te).  This is because we have not done any correction to the changes that are taking place in the solar system over several centuries. Gregorian calendar makes periodic century corrections and leap year corrections and therefore correctly predicts Winter Solstice Day in the Northern Hemisphere which is Summer Solstice Day in Southern Hemisphere.    
Vedas deify the Sun, the Moon and the Stars and we come across their Homa Mantras as well as Sooktas. I have not come across any Navagraha cluster of deities in Veda mantras presided by  the Sun  nor any mention of eclipses. But here is a very popular Puranic story of Rahu and Ketu the nodal points raised to the planet status and deified later as we have done Vighnaraja as Ganapati. 
As per Hindu Astrology, Rahu and Ketu denote the two points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move around the celestial sphere. Therefore, Rahu and Ketu are respectively called the north and the south lunar nodes. The fact that eclipses occur when Sun and Moon are at one of these points gives rise to the myth of swallowing of the Sun. This gave an opportunity for Puranas to deify the nodal points and bring out a make-believe story and the connected horoscope false predictions and rituals for appeasement (Shanti). I wonder whether anybody has realized such benefits from these so called upa-devatas (Minor mythological deities) projected in Puranas?   

MYTHOLOGICAL STORIES BEHIND ECLIPSES

The original story of the eclipse goes as follows (Damle, 2011, p 52). The great god Brahma reveals gods and the asuras (who are another group of super humans, who fight with gods for supremacy) that there is an immortality giving elixir of life in a pot at the bottom of the sea. Whoever drinks this elixir will become immortal. Neither the gods nor the demons had the necessary capability to churn the great oceans. Hence they agree to cooperate. Using the great snake Sheshanaga as the rope and the mountain Mainaka as the shaft, they began churning the seas. Several strange things happen during the churning as the sea keeps throwing out a variety of items before the nectar can be given out.   After several complications, they eventually succeed. However, when the elixir (called amruta –the one that prevents death) eventually comes, the gods become dishonest. One of them (Lord Vishnu) takes the form of a beautiful maiden named Mohini (“the one who enchants”). The asuras are completely mesmerized by her beauty and completely forget about the nectar. Mohini calmly takes the pot. She instructs the gods and the asuras to sit in two parallel lines so that she can systematically distribute the Amruta. However, she begins by distributing it to the gods. While most asuras remain oblivious to the trickery, one of them, called Swarbhanu realizes the trick and quietly goes and sits in the line with the gods. Mohini dutifully hands out the nectar to him but before he can take it the Sun and the Moon realize what is happening and complain. Mohini immediately cuts off the head of Swarbhanu. However, since Swarbhanu has already tasted the nectar he becomes immortal. The head of the slain but living demon is then cared for by his mother and is called Rahu. The body, looked after by another priest is called Ketu. However, Rahu and Ketu are both very angry with Sun and Moon and now spend all their time trying to take revenge on them. Hence the eclipses occur when Rahu gulps down Sun or the Moon. However, because Rahu is only a head, the Sun and the moon escape Rahu as he gulps them down. Since Rahu and Ketu also move in the sky like other planets, they are called dark or unseen planets. Their motion is also predictable and hence the ancient Indian practice is to worship 9 planets –Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu.

A slightly different version by BAPS Samstha reads as follows: After the churning of the ocean by the devas (gods) and daityas (demons), Amrut - immortalizing nectar - was produced. It so happened that the demons got the nectar first, but the devas created an Apsarã (a beautiful celestial woman) called Mohini. She tricked the demons and took the nectar away from them. Once the devas received the Amrut, they asked God to distribute the Amrut to all the gods equally. While God was serving everyone Amrut, a demon, named Rãhu, through yogic powers transformed himself into a deva and sat in line to receive Amrut and thus become immortal. He sat between the Sun-god and the Moon-god. They both recognized the demon in the form of a deva. When God unknowingly served Amrut to Rãhu, both the sun and the moon revealed that it was a demon. So God beheaded Rãhu instantly with his Sudarshan chakra. But by the time God beheaded Rãhu he had drunk the amrut. The Amrut had reached Rãhu’s throat, making his head immortal. Rãhu’s head thus became a planet. Since the Sun-god and the Moon-god told God about Rãhu, Rãhu was deeply disappointed and nursed a hatred for them. Therefore it is believed that during certain times of the year Rãhu holds the sun and the moon by his mouth (grahan), hence the existence of the solar and lunar eclipses.
There is also an interesting Puranic story besides Rahu story that says: “Thirty million is the number of the malignant spirits, called Mandehas, who manifest a desire of devouring the Sun at day break. He, who does not attend to his Sandhya rite at the meetings of the day and night, verily kills the Sun, inasmuch as the libations of consecrated water (offered unto the sun-god in the course of a Sandhyaa) tend to consume these monsters (Mandehas) like streams of liquid fire." Even Hanuman is believed to have hidden the Sun in his armpit for a while and brought life on earth to stand still, a sort of an eclipse. Simhika held Hanuman’s shadow for a while and stopped his fast motion.
Astrologers and pundits conspired here and framed   religious codes to conduct worship and to pray for the life of Sun and Moon as well as their own relief of imaginary harmful effects of temporary darkness. They further strengthened it by   false forecast of evil effects of planets Rahu and Ketu and the appeasement rituals. “The earth is plunged into darkness during a lunar or solar eclipse. Darkness symbolizes impurity and therefore one has to sit in one place and chant the name of God. Once the eclipse is over, light returns back to the earth when it is time to rejoice glorifying Sun and his satellite Moon as emanations of The Supreme Spirit”—so they felt bogged down by the fear of darkness (Tamaso maa Jyotir gamaya).  Religious Hindus invariably seek their God in darkness as you know from Temple Traditions where the consecrated deity is kept in darkness in Garbhagriha and seek the Self hidden in the cavity of the heart (see my discourse also on the subject).
Are such myths only found in Hindu Religion? Certainly not when you go through the report of National Geographic Magazine given in Appendix.  People feared as well as revered the dark planets. Both Rahu and Ketu are depicted in the images as having serpent body and with and without human head. In Chinese culture also eclipses are believed to be caused by demonic beings, serpents or dragons.
 NASA ON ECLIPSES
Solar Eclipse happens when the moon gets in the way of the Sun’s light and casts its shadow on Earth. That means during the day, the moon moves over the sun and it gets dark. Isn’t it strange that it gets dark in the middle of the day?
This total eclipse happens about every year and a half somewhere on Earth. A partial eclipse, when the moon doesn’t completely cover the sun, happens at least twice a year somewhere on Earth.
But not everyone experiences every solar eclipse. Getting a chance to see a total solar eclipse is rare. The moon’s shadow on Earth isn’t very big, so only a small portion of places on Earth will see it. You have to be on the sunny side of the planet when it happens. You also have to be in the path of the moon’s shadow.
On average, the same spot on Earth only gets to see a solar eclipse for a few minutes about every 375 years!
Solar Eclipse should never be viewed directly. To view a solar eclipse, use special solar viewing glasses. Get them from a camera store or online. Welding goggles will also work. Sun glasses will not work, even if we stack many of them together.
 Lunar Eclipse
During a lunar eclipse, Earth gets in the way of the sun’s light hitting the moon. That means that during the night, a full moon fades away as Earth’s shadow covers it up.
The moon can also look reddish because Earth’s atmosphere absorbs the other colors while it bends some sunlight toward the moon. Sunlight bending through the atmosphere and absorbing other colors is also why sunsets are orange and red.
During a total lunar eclipse, the moon is shining from all the sunrises and sunsets occurring on Earth! The moon appears orange-red (Blood Moon) in a total lunar eclipse. 
Why don’t we have a lunar eclipse every month?
You might be wondering why we don’t have a lunar eclipse every month as the moon orbits Earth. It’s true that the moon goes around Earth every month, but it doesn’t always get in Earth’s shadow. The moon’s path around Earth is tilted compared to Earth’s orbit around the sun. The moon can be behind Earth but still get hit by light from the sun.
Because they don’t happen every month, a lunar eclipse is a special event. Unlike solar eclipses, lots of people get to see each lunar eclipse. If you live on the nighttime half of Earth when the eclipse happens, you’ll be able to see it.
It’s easy to get these two types of eclipses mixed up. An easy way to remember the difference is in the name. The name tells you what gets darker when the eclipse happens. In a solar eclipse, the sun gets darker. In a lunar eclipse, the moon gets darker.”

HINDU RELIGIOUS MANDATES TO OBSERVE ECLIPSE AS A RITUAL
When Solar or Lunar eclipse occurs, only certain regions of the world are affected.  Hindu Sastras say if the eclipse affects the region that you are living in, then you should follow the rituals as prescribed by the scriptures. However, if the eclipse does not affect your region, then you should not follow the rituals laid out for the eclipse.
Be it a solar or lunar eclipse, the rules prescribed by Puranic believers and religious protagonists   to follow before, during and after the eclipse are as follows:

Before the eclipse:
  • One should not eat 12 hours before the solar eclipse begins. One can drink water.
  • One should not eat 9 hours before the lunar eclipse begins. One can drink water.
  • In addition, one should not offer meals to God during this pre-eclipse period. However, one is allowed to perform Aarati, pray and sing devotional songs during this period.
  • There may be times when the solar eclipse occurs before sunrise. Therefore one may see the eclipse only after the sun has risen. In this case, one should not eat after sunset the previous night.
 After the eclipse:
  • One should take a bath with one’s clothes on immediately after the eclipse.
  • It is best to take a bath in cold water after the eclipse is over.
The Satsangijivan, written by Shatãnand Muni, states that after one purifies oneself, one should offer donations according to one’s income. If donations are offered with love and devotion, one will receive appropriate returns as stated in the scriptures. It is in the joy of the Sun and/or Moon-god being released from the clutches of Rãhu that the devotees offer donations. Since sadhus have no money, they rejoice by performing puja.
How to remain pure during the eclipse?
  • One should get rid of extra cooked food after the solar or lunar eclipse.
  • One should not touch anything such as clothes, food, personal items, etc. during the eclipse.
  • After the eclipse is over, one should not touch anyone and take a bath with one’s clothes on. If one has touched anything by mistake, it should be purified by washing or by sprinkling water over it.
It is never safe to look at a partial or annular eclipse, or the partial phases of a total solar eclipse, without the proper equipment and techniques.
Why should we take a bath after an eclipse?
One should take a bath after an eclipse because it is believed that the earth is plunged into darkness during a lunar or solar eclipse. Darkness symbolizes impurity and therefore one has to sit in one place and chant the name of God. Once the eclipse is over, light returns back to the earth; and to rejoice, one has to cleanse the impurity that darkness brought, worship God and offer donations to express one’s happiness.
THE GREAT FULL SOLAR ECLIPSE IN AUGUST IN 2017
On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the U.S.A. The glorious sight of the fully eclipsed sun will be visible along a 60-mile-wide path arching from Oregon to South Carolina. Millions of people are expected to travel to this “path of totality” to watch as the moon entirely covers the face of the sun. People in the rest of the country will experience a partial eclipse. Always a Lunar eclipse occurs a fortnight before Solar eclipse. So there will be a partial Lunar Eclipse on Aug 7, 2017. A total solar eclipse is unlike anything you've seen in our lives. As totality approaches, we will see the astonishing sight of day turning to night and the Sun's corona blazing in the sky. This is truly a great American eclipse because totality will sweep the nation from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Nearly everyone in the US can reach this total solar eclipse within one day's drive.  An eclipse is a cosmic billiard shot — the Sun, Moon, and Earth line up to reveal the Sun's atmosphere, its corona. Eclipses on Earth occur only because of an amazing celestial coincidence. 
The August 2017 eclipse will be the first with a path of totality crossing the USA's Pacific coast and Atlantic coast since 1918. Also, its path of totality makes landfall exclusively within the United States, making it the first such eclipse since the country's independence in 1776. (The path of totality of the eclipse of June 13, 1257, was the last to make landfall exclusively on lands currently part of the USA. 
This suddenly sunless heaven when the moon fully eclipses the Sun that everyone in my city  Nashville, would like to watch is a scene that hasn’t appeared over Middle Tennessee since 1478.  According to astronomers earthlings will be able to spot a few particularly bright planets and stars, and several solar features, too.   Outreach astronomers at the Vanderbilt Dyer observatory, say that eclipse observers will be able to see four planets during totality, the two minute phase, when the moon completely blocks the sun’s light. The cloudless sky will show planets Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and Venus.  Venus (please refer to my discourse on Sanatkumara descending from Venus revealed in the Book of Revelations of the Holy Bible) will appear the brightest. Jupiter, the largest planet orbiting the Sun, will take the second place for luminosity intensity during totality. Observers may have a tough time spotting the Solar system’s fastest and tiniest planet. Stars we see at night are always the stars that are on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. In the summer we see certain set of stars and winter different set of stars. This will be the first time we see the Star Sirius in the summer. I hope this will help you to research eclipse ahead of time and bring knowledge, instead of equipment to the scene. You can then have a general idea of where to expect to see the planets and stars once totality begins.

The Posting by Michael Bakich in the Internet is worth reading here: “This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years. The last one occurred February 26, 1979.A solar eclipse is a lineup of the Sun, the Moon, and Earth. The Moon, directly between the Sun and Earth, casts a shadow on our planet. If you’re in the dark part of that shadow (the umbra), you’ll see a total eclipse. If you’re in the light part (the penumbra), you’ll see a partial eclipse. A solar eclipse happens at New Moon. The Moon has to be between the Sun and Earth for a solar eclipse to occur. The only lunar phase when that happens is New Moon. Solar eclipses don’t happen at every New Moon. The reason is that the Moon’s orbit tilts 5° to Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Astronomers call the two intersections of these paths nodes. Hindu puranas   call them as Rahu and Ketu, deified them and astrologers have created unbelievable myths and superstitions to exploit innocent people. Eclipses only occur when the Sun lies at one node and the Moon is at its New Moon (for solar eclipses) or Full Moon (for lunar eclipses) phase. During most (lunar) months, the Sun lies either above or below one of the nodes, and no eclipse happens.
Eclipse totalities are different lengths. The reason the total phases of solar eclipses vary in time is because Earth is not always at the same distance from the Sun and the Moon is not always at   the same distance from Earth. The Earth-Sun distance varies by 3 percent and the Moon-Earth distance by 12 percent. The result is that the Moon’s apparent diameter can range from 7 percent larger to 10 percent smaller than the Sun. Maximum totality is not the longest possible in 2017. The longest possible duration of the total phase of a solar eclipse is 7 minutes and 32 seconds. Unfortunately, the next solar eclipse whose totality approaches 7 minutes won’t occur until June 13, 2132. Its 6 minutes and 55 seconds of totality will be the longest since the 7 minutes and 4 seconds of totality June 30, 1973. The Sun’s a lot bigger. Our daytime star’s diameter is approximately 400 times larger than that of the Moon. What a coincidence that it also lies roughly 400 times farther away. This means both disks appear to be the same size.
Solar eclipses occur between Siros cycles. Similar solar and lunar eclipses recur every 6,585.3 days (18 years, 11 days, 8 hours). Scientists call this length of time a Siros cycle. Two eclipses separated by one Siros cycle are similar. They occur at the same node, the Moon’s distance from Earth is nearly the same, and they happen at the same time of the year.
 During the time the Moon’s disk covers that of the Sun, it’s safe to look at the eclipse. In fact, to experience the awesomeness of the event, you must look at the Sun without a filter during totality. One of the great things about the total phase of a solar eclipse is that it looks best to naked eyes and you won’t need a telescope. The sight of the corona surrounding the Moon’s black disk in a darkened sky is unforgettable. That said, binoculars give you a close-up view — but still at relatively low power — that you should take advantage of several times during the event.
Depending on your surroundings, as totality nears you may experience strange things. Look. You’ll notice a resemblance to the onset of night, though not exactly. Areas much lighter than the sky near the Sun lie all around the horizon. Shadows look different. Listen; usually, any breeze will dissipate and birds (many of whom will come in to roost) will stop chirping. It is quiet. Feel. A 10°–15° F drop in temperature is not unusual.
The next total solar eclipse over the continental U.S. occurs April 8, 2024. It’s a good one, too. Depending on where you are (on the center line), the duration of totality lasts at least 3 minutes and 22 seconds on the east coast of Maine and stretches to 4 minutes and 27 seconds in southwestern Texas. After that eclipse, it’s a 20-year wait until August 23, 2044. (And, similar to the 1979 event, that one is visible only in Montana and North Dakota). Total solar eclipses follow in 2045 and 2078”.
I am lucky enough to live in Nashville,   a city with a population of o 609,000 people.  The city center and parts north of it will experience 2+ minutes of totality. Unfortunately for others in USA, it is the only large city with a great view.
About a month after the August eclipse there will be an alignment in Virgo at sunrise with 5 planets, the sun and the moon. It will be on September 23, 2017. Then 4 months later the same planets all form a conjunction in Libra.  What mysteries these will reveal   God only knows. Let us wait for Scientists and Hindu Astrologers to come out with their own findings and stories!
While Hindus in India will be observing Chandra Grahana on 8/7/2017, they will not be observing Surya Grahana on 8/21/2017 as this will not be visible in India that Hindu Americans will be observing with enthusiasm. Yet Hindu American Temples may not declare this Solar Eclipse day as a special Religious Observance day as Hindus in India will not be religiously observing. Our conservative Hindu Temple Pundits are just copy-cats of orthodox Hindus in India and followers of Panchangams from India.  American Hindu Panchangam from a well-known astrologer from India has not still woken up to the situation and corrected the situation for American Hindus.   I have also elaborately discussed how we wrongly observe Uttarayana Punyakala on Makara Sankranti Day on January 14 while   the  actual Winter solstice day in Northern Hemisphere  is  on December 22 in the previous year, when the apparent direction of Sun’s movement changes.
 I was surprised by an e-mail by one of my very serious exponent of Interfaith who attaches lot of importance to Hindu way of life though married to a Westerner: “Mr Srinivasan, as you know there is a lot of attention related to the Solar Eclipse on Aug 21. Gallatin, TN is scheduled to get 2.5 minutes of the eclipse and people are coming here from all over the world! I would like your guidance on what we should do on that day.  I would like to just stay home and have a quiet normal day and not be distracted by the eclipse. Are there any special prayers we should conduct on this day?”  
My reply to her was as follows: “I appreciate that you are seriously thinking of observing this day religiously as a true follower of Hinduism on August 21, 2017. I am neither a religious pundit nor a spiritual Guru. Yet I am sending my thoughts on the subject. It is   customary to disinfect all food materials during eclipse by placing a Dharba grass in them.  Whether food gets poisoned during eclipse or not the disinfecting effect of Dharba grass is well established. I hope you have read my discourse on Sacred Dhraba Gras recently sent. I will talk on this subject again during the Solar eclipse time in USA if I get more information”.  I also sent her a write up by “BAPS Swaminarayana Samsatha on Religious Observance of  Eclipses”  which I have summarized above with additional note as under:
“WHAT SLOKA AND MANTRA TO CHANT DURING ECLIPSE
Conventional orthodox priests may ask you to recite Navagraha sloka.  I do not believe in Rahu –Ketu Story or Navagraha worship.  Please see my discourse “Why there are no Navagraha Altars  in Vishnu Temples”.  Puranas are exaggerated texts to drive home a particular Dhrama concept. I go by the wisdom of Vedas and the Mantras prescribed therein and slokas modelled after them.  Vedas only have Mantras on Nakshatras (Stars) among whom Aditya (Sun) figures  frequently as  Vyahriti of Brahaman or worshiped as Brahman (Supreme Spirit). Rama prayed only on Aditya Hridaya in Ramayana administered by Sage Agasatya. This is the prayer to supreme spirit who resides in the cavity of our hearts as well as in the twelve Orbs of the Sun. I have included in my discourses Mantras on Aditya while describing Mantras in MNU. Also there is a Nakshrtra Sookta. But these are difficult texts and need practice and proper intonation to chant. Hence it will be easier to recite Adityahridaya sloka and end with Gayatri mantra meditation 108 times.
 Adityahridaya sloka with meaning is available in my discourse on Surya Namaskaram:
 http://nrsrini.blogspot.com/2012/01/obeisance-to-sun-god-soorya-namaskaaram.html
 Gayatri Mantra
 Om Tad Brahma| Tad Vayu |   Tad Aaatma | Tat Satyam | Tat Sarvam | Tat puror Namah ||
  
THEORY-SIDE OF NAVAGARAHS   THAT BROUGHT IN RAHU AND KETU
  Here is an expert’s explanation given in the Internet with my added comments:
One would find that Sun starts at same horizon point and ends at same horizon point every day: and Moon does the same on New Moon and Full Moon day.
That gave rise to knowledge of a circular highway in space, within which Sun and Moon travel.  So one did not need to focus everywhere in sky. The star-gazer focused his time and energy to this Space highway of say 16 degree width round the sky. That is called Zodiac Belt. It is a geocentric view, earth being at center as observer is on Earth.
Within this Space highway, if one continuously observed, then it will be found that there are lumps of distant stars at regular distance in zodiac belt like cities on highways. These sign posts were named as constellation or as zodiac signs for identifying them like cities, as they shifted every month because of Earth's revolution around Sun and came back to original position after a year.
Next observation was that some heavenly bodies shifted their place regularly within zodiac road,   while distant stars bunch called constellation or zodiac sign did not make any change in their shape. So, moving bodies got more attention, which were called as planets (grahas). These too came back to their original place after some period.
Therefore, astronomers identified fixed distant stars bunches background for the moving planets just like there are hands in clock against its dial background with 1 to 12 numbers.
After long observations, astronomers found that there are not many planets which move within Zodiac belt. Apart from Sun and Moon, they found only Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn followed the 16 degree wide zodiac road like a 7 lane express high way. That made 7 planets (That includes Star Sun and the Satellite Moon) from Sun to Saturn on which weekdays are named. They follow a fixed 16 degree path of zodiac and have different speed of revolution (from 1 month to 30 years) and are visible to naked eye.
Indian astronomers divided zodiac circular, clock like road into 27 equal parts based on Moon's stay for a day under every star bunch [Nakshatra or constellation]   while Babylonians preferred 12 divisions  (Zodiac Signs)  in which Sun stays for a Month .
[The moon completes a circuit of its path with respect to the earth in about 27.33 days.  Hence the Zodiac Belt is divided into 27 equal parts of 13 degrees and 20 seconds each called Nakshatras. The first segment is called Aswini and the last segment 346 degrees 40 seconds is called Revati.  The segment in which the moon lies at the time of birth is called Janma Nakshatra (Birth star) of that person. Hence Nakshatra in astrology is only one of the segments of the Zodiac Belt   whereas is astronomy stars (nakshatras) are heavenly bodies twinkling in the sky.]
For centuries, only 7 planets were used. Astronomers tried to co-relate planets motion in different signs / constellation and their effect on Earthy  events like war, epidemics, crops yield, flood, earth quake, storms, rise and fall of empires, birth and death of humans  etc. and thus  developed an applied science of Astrology . Babylonians and Indians were forerunners of this.
Long after, a need was felt, because of eclipse phenomenon happening at least 2 times in a year   that something is missing in 7 planet predictive model. They visualized that there must be something in sky that casts shadows on Sun and Moon during eclipse. And then they came up with theory of Rahu and Ketu or dragon's head and tail which are shadows of Moon and Earth. Rahu and Ketu are nothing but a virtual way of including Earth in scheme of astrological model. And that made total 9 celestial bodies of astrology.   [My question is why in astrology chart earth planet is not included? ]
So, Rahu and Ketu are like decimal and zero added to number system later on for creating perfect model and that works accurately in astrology.
Later day astrologers added the features of planets and signs based on person’s characteristics and visible characteristics of planets and thus whole astrology developed just like vehicles moving parallel but below express highway,   cannot affect vehicles moving on zodiac highway.  Also, it is based on Geo-centric model, where Earth is center because we need to assess sum of effects on Earthy life and not on Sun.
That is the theory side of Navagrahas but practice side has added lot of commercial crap like color,   images, idols,   influencing gems, selective grains, stories etc. to these Navagraha, which has no truth, though mathematical base does have its applications.  
 Before the invention of telescopes, people could only see five planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, in that order of apparent distance). In the navagrahas that we mention, there are four other entities: the Sun, the Moon, and representation of points where the Moon's orbit crosses the plane of the Earth-Sun orbit [but is popularly believed to be representations of solar and lunar eclipse].
Fear of solar eclipses still exists today. Many people around the world still see eclipses as evil omens that bring death, destruction, and disasters.
A popular misconception is that solar eclipses can be a danger to pregnant women and their unborn children. In many cultures, young children and pregnant women are asked to stay indoors during a solar eclipse. People were overcome with fear and had also no knowledge that they should protect their eyes during eclipse in olden days. [Women usually have weaker nerves compared to men and particularly so pregnant woman due to psychological changes taking place in her. So, this was a cautionary measure when scientific guidance was not available].
[Note: My additional notes are contained within [] in the above write-up”.]
In many parts of India people fast during a solar eclipse due to the belief that any food cooked   and eaten while an eclipse happens will be poisonous and impure. [Are we to believe all the food material in the market is polluted during eclipses and so should be destroyed? The astrologers have also come out with the clever idea for preserving food   against poisoning with the help of Dharba Grass during eclipse, whose potency they knew somehow! Where to find so much Dharba Grass even though science has proved its unique preserving qualities?  Not all superstitions surrounding solar eclipses are about doom. In Italy for example, it is believed that flowers planted during a solar eclipse are brighter and more colorful than flowers planted any other time of the year.

A LEARNED PROFESSOR’S VIEW ON NAVAGRAHAS

Here is another expert opinion on Navagrahas from a physics professor of repute in USA:

“For all the people of the world (except Indian Astrologers), our Sun never moves like all other stars in our milky way.   Only the planets and satellites move.

The speed of our Earth is as follows:  Its radius is 6.37 million meters.  That means 6.37 times tenth power of six meters.  The circumference of our Earth is 2piR = 2(22/7)6.37(1000000) M.  When we divide this by 24 hours and 1609 m, we get 1036.876 miles per hour.  Because one mile equals 1609 m, we divided by 1609 m in order to get in miles.  THE SPEED OF OUR EARTH IS 1036.876 MILES PER HOUR.  It rotates by itself with this speed and moves on constantly on the elliptical orbit while our Sun is in one of the focal points of the ellipse.  Remember, no circular orbit, but elliptical orbit (egg shaped orbit).  Our Earth is also constantly wobbling from 0 to 23.5 degrees above Equator (middle line of our Earth) for six months and below Equator for six months.  When we sit on the Earth, while Earth is doing all these, we apparently feel as if Our Sun is moving north of Equator or south of Equator.  In reality, Our Sun never moves but our Earth moves.  When we sit near the window of our moving train, we see as if all the trees and mountains are moving.  In reality, they are not moving, but we are moving.  When we do circumambulation, we rotate out body and move around the Praakaaram (enclosed walled space to walk around in temples) at the same time.  Our Earth also does the same thing.

When we come shortest distance to our Sun, we have summer.  When we go longest distance from our Sun, we have winter.  Between summer and winter, we have autumn.  Between winter and summer, we have spring.

 In the early days, people worshipped Sun as God.  They thought that the Earth was the center of the universe, and the Sun was moving around the Earth.  This was called as GEOCENTRIC THEORY by Ptolemy.  GEO means Earth.  Then Galileo proposed HELIOCENTRIC THEORY.  The Sun was the center of the universe while all the planets were moving around the Sun.  He also discovered many things, like the actual value of the gravity of the Earth, telescopes, and conducted many experiments.  He was charged by Catholic Churches that he was corrupting the minds of the people, and put him in prison until his death.  Then Copernicus discovered the ELLIPTICAL THEORY which is true even today.  All the planets are moving on elliptical orbit while the Sun is at one of the focal points of the ellipse.  All these are taught in all the high schools, colleges and universities in India and all the countries of the world. 

Only in India, the   astrologers make the Hindus believe in the center of the universe, the planet Sun, planet Moon, planet Rahu, and planet Kethu, planet Budha, planet Sukra, planet Kuja, planet Guru, and planet Shani are moving around the Earth.   This has been going on for generation after generation, just because the Hindus do not question our astrologers or Scriptures:     

1. “He who fixed firm the earth that staggered, and set at rest the agitated mountains, who measured out the air's wide middle region and gave the heaven support, he men is Indra" Rig Veda 2: 12: 2.

We all now know today that the earth rotates itself and orbits on the elliptical path with sun at one of the focal points of the ellipse.  The earth is not at all fixed and the sun is not at all going around the earth.

2.  "In the beginning rose Hiranyagarbha, born only Lord of all created beings.  He fixed and holds up the earth and the heaven". (Rigveda)

We all know now today that the earth rotates itself with a speed of 1037 miles per hour and moves on the elliptical path while the sun rests on one of the two focal points of the ellipse.  The earth moves, the sun rests but not the other way.

3.  "Firm is the sky and firm is the earth and steadfast are all this living world"Rig Veda 10: 173: 4

4.  "The Bull has supported the sky"-- Yajur Veda 4: 30 5

 5.  "God has firmly fixed the earth with pegs around it"--Yajur Veda 5: 16 6

This is wrong.  Where is the proof?  We are sitting on the earth which rotates by itself with a speed of 1037 miles per hour and orbits on the path of the ellipse with sun at one of the two focal points of the ellipse.

6.  "North West of the Heavens"--Yajur Veda 13: 56, 57 7

7.  "The Bull has supported the sky"--Yajur Veda 14: 5 8

Both Rig Veda and Yajur Veda conflict with science today because the earth rotates by itself with a speed of 1037 miles per hour and orbits on the elliptical path of the ellipse with sun rests on one of the two focal points of the ellipse.

The concept of Navagrahas is based on fraud, deception and cheating.  The astrologers for thousands of years made fool of Hindus, and still continuing.  As long as the people are fools, crook astrologers will continue to exploit the fools.  The sons and daughters of these astrologers have become doctors and engineers by studying the present day sciences and technologies in colleges and universities”. 


 CONCLUSION
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research based on its findings concludes “References to eclipses in ancient India date back to the oldest document, the Rig Veda and sporadic discussions exists in the literature. However, in later period, the records of donations at the time of eclipses can be found and we have records of almost a thousand such records. A substantial database of eclipses recorded in the subcontinent between 400 AD and 1800 therefore now exists and it should provide a rich data set to extract information on subtle changes in earth’s precession over this period”.
The Gods of Vedas (Devas) are beings of light and delights and aspects (Vyahritis) of Brahman. They remain on the side of the Supreme and follow his orders. Just as darkness cannot stand light the demons cannot withstand the power of Gods. Darkness can temporarily overshadow the power of light and prevail against it. Gods may also suffer a temporary defeat due to fate and the overshadowing effect of planetary deities.  Puranas gave birth two shadow planets Rahu and Ketu compelled by these thoughts.  They still believe Sun and Moon travel and are planets while Sun is a Star and Moon a satellite. The philosophy promoted by a spiritualist behind eclipse’s Puranic story is we are all engulfed by an eclipse in the form of Maayaa. So, just as one does for an eclipse, one should pray to God in order to overcome the force of Maayaa symbolized as darkness, though we always try to seek the Self or the Supreme in darkness. We all should be taught in Kindergarten way and stories with a moral.  When are we to spiritually advance?
Hindu Religion later brought out certain mandatory duties on Individuals. The social service a Hindu householder has to do comprises of Pancha Mahaa yajanas which includes Pitruyajna (obeisance to ancestors).  Tarpana is Pitruyajna. This takes place after breaking the silence of darkness and awakening. Now-a-days a Brahmin who undergoes Upanayana is   ordained to do  Tarpana on New Moon days as well as during Eclipse days where he meets light after  experiencing the awesome darkness, since daily Yajna is difficult to perform for working people.
Scriptures instructed people to stay indoors and not look at Eclipses. They also advised people not to initiate any actions, engage in sexual intercourse, cook or expose the food items to their negative influence. They also advised them to pray   and give charities or gifts to neutralize the ill effect and negative consequences. Hindu social life is so fabricated with religion that he cannot but think of divine interference on all such occasions, including joyous moments of festivities as we all know.   Demonic possession, suffering and adversity are often compared with eclipses. When a person   is going through a difficult period he is said to be eclipsed. This adjective is also used to convey the dominance or conquest of one nation over another or one person over another life we say that person is eclipsed. An individual’s wealth, fame power may also be eclipsed by misfortune or adverse circumstances.
In Hindu Astrology, Rahu and Ketu are given high importance. But why? Why are these incision points considered so important? The general explanation is that Sun represents body whereas Moon represents mind and these incision points strongly affect the energies of these two planets.
It has to be noted that being a Shadow planet (Chhaya Grah) it gives results based on other planetary influences. It is generally observed that with a benefic or in benefic influence it gives very good result. It is generally considered as a good planet for worldly comforts. However, Rahu also signifies delusions and vanity. In modern times Rahu represents Computers, Internet and Mass Media. Rahu is friendly to Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. It considers Sun and Moon as its enemies and towards Mercury it is Neutral.
Again it has to be said that being a Shadow planet (Chhaya graha) Ketu gives results according to associations with other planets in a Kundali. Ketu is friendly to Mars, Venus and Saturn. It considers Sun and Moon as his enemies and towards Mercury and Jupiter it is Neutral.
There is also an interesting Puranic story besides Rahu story of devouring Sun that says: “Thirty million is the number of the malignant spirits, called Mandehas, who manifest a desire of devouring the Sun at day break. He, who does not attend to his Sandhya rite at the meetings of the day and night, verily kills the Sun, inasmuch as the libations of consecrated water (offered unto the sun-god in the course of a Sandhya) tend to consume these monsters (Mandehas) like streams of liquid fire." Even Hanuman hid the Sun in his armpit for a while and brought life on earth to stand still.
Scientists and astronomers around the world have debunked any such claims as our Puranas promote on religious significance of eclipses.  There is no scientific evidence that solar eclipses can affect human behavior, health, or the environment. Scientists, however, do emphasize that anyone watching a solar eclipse must protect their eyes. But they miss   the social obligations of Hindu way of life built into religion!


APPENDIX

SADGURU’S THOUGHTS ON WHY FAST DURING ECLIPSES

During lunar eclipses, what would happen in 28 days over a full lunar cycle is happening in a subtle way over the course of two to three hours of the eclipse. In terms of energy, the earth’s energy is mistaking this eclipse as a full cycle of the moon. Certain things happen in the planet where anything that has moved away from its natural condition will deteriorate very fast. This is why while there is no change in raw fruits and vegetables, there is a distinct change in the way cooked food is before and after the eclipse. What was nourishing food turns into poison!  Poison is something that takes away your awareness. If it takes away to a certain minor level, that means you are dull. If it takes away your awareness to a certain depth, that means you are asleep. If something takes away your awareness completely, that means you are dead. Dullness, sleep, death – this is just a progression. So, cooked food will go through the phases of its deterioration much more rapidly in a subtle way than it does on a normal day. There is a distinct change in the way cooked food is before and after the eclipse. What was nourishing food turns into poison! That is why sastras prescribe covering with Dharba grass known for its disinfectant effect.
If there is food in your body, in two hours’ time your energies will age by approximately twenty-eight days during eclipse.  Does that mean you can eat a raw food diet on such a day? No, because the moment food goes into your body, the juices in your stomach attack and kill it. It becomes like semi-cooked food and will still have the same impact.
This is not just about food. This is about the way you are itself. If you have moved away from the natural dimension of who you are in anyway, you become more susceptible to these forces. If you are in your natural state, you are least available to these forces.
 The cycles of the moon have an impact upon the human system, physically, psychologically and energy-wise. This is evident in the way our mothers went through their periods. I am talking about our mothers because we are here only because our mothers were in tune with the moon. If our mothers’ bodies were not in tune with the moon we wouldn’t be here today. When the moon is going through a whole cycle in two to three hours’ time, there is a little bit of confusion in all our mothers’ bodies. This is also happening in a man’s body, because your mothers are present in a certain way – not physiologically but in other ways.
When the body is in a confused state, the best thing is to keep it as empty as possible, and as conscious as possible. One of the simplest ways to be conscious is to not eat. Then you will constantly be conscious of at least one thing. And the moment your stomach is empty, your ability to be conscious becomes so much better. Your body becomes more transparent and you are able to notice what is happening with your system much better.

Solar Eclipse Myths From Around the World
  Jane J. Lee, National Geographic, November 2, 2013

Viking sky wolves, Korean fire dogs, and African versions of celestial reconciliation—these are only some of the many ways people around the world, and through the ages, have sought to explain solar eclipses.
"If you do a worldwide survey of eclipse lore, the theme that constantly appears, with few exceptions, is it's always a disruption of the established order," said E. C. Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California. That's true of both solar and lunar eclipses.
"People depend on the sun's movement," Krupp said. "[It's] regular, dependable, you can't tamper with it. And then, all of a sudden, Shakespearean tragedy arrives and time is out of joint. The sun and moon do something that they shouldn't be doing."
What that disruption means depends on the culture, and not everyone views an eclipse as a bad thing, said Jarita Holbrook, a cultural astronomer at the University of the Western Cape in Bellville, South Africa.
Some see it as a time of terror, while others look at a solar eclipse as part of the natural order that deserves respect, or as a time of reflection and reconciliation. 
Swallowing Fire
Many cultures explain eclipses, both solar and lunar, as a time when demons or animals consume the sun or the moon, said Krupp.
"The Vikings saw a pair of sky wolves chasing the sun or the moon," said the Griffith Observatory astronomer. When one of the wolves caught either of the shining orbs, an eclipse would result. (Read "Vikings and Native Americans" in National Geographic magazine.)
"In Vietnam, a frog or a toad [eats] the moon or the sun," Krupp added, while people of the Kwakiutl tribe on the western coast of Canada believe that the mouth of heaven consumes the sun or the moon during an eclipse.
In fact, the earliest word for eclipse in Chinese, shih, means "to eat," he said.
Eclipse Wizard
In order to combat this devouring, people in many cultures made noise in order to scare the demon or animal away, said Nancy Mary boy, president of the Indigenous Education Institute on San Juan Island, Washington. She's currently working with NASA on bringing indigenous astronomy into mainstream awareness.
People banged pots and pans or played on drums to get whatever was swallowing the sun or the moon to go away, she explained.
Krupp orchestrates a modern version of this during lunar eclipses on the front lawn of the Griffith Observatory. He dons a wizard's outfit and leads the public on a march in front of the observatory while banging pots and pans to chase away whatever's eating the moon.
"We're always successful," Krupp said.
Celestial Larceny
Other myths tell of deception and theft to explain the sun's disappearance during an eclipse. Korean eclipse mythology involves fire dogs that try to steal the sun or the moon, said Krupp.
On orders from a king, the mythical canines try their best to capture the fiery sun or the ice-cold moon. They always fail, but whenever they bite either orb, an eclipse results.
One of the more colorful stories in Krupp's opinion involves the Hindu demon Rahu, who disguises himself as a god in order to steal a taste of an elixir that grants immortality. The sun and moon see what Rahu is up to, and they report his crime to the god Vishnu.
"Vishnu slices off his head before [the elixir] can slide past his throat," said Krupp. As a consequence, Rahu's head turns immortal, but his body dies.
The demon's head continues to move through the sky, chasing the sun and the moon out of hatred. "Every now and then he catches them and swallows them," explained Krupp. But since Rahu has no throat, the sun and the moon fall out of the bottom of his head.
Nature and Reconciliation
"My favorite myth is from the Batammaliba people in Togo and Benin" in Africa, said Holbrook.
In this myth, the sun and the moon are fighting during an eclipse, she said. The people "encourage the sun and the moon to stop fighting."
"They see it as a time of coming together and resolving old feuds and anger," Holbrook said. "It's a myth that has held to this day."
A Navajo tradition regarding eclipses has also endured into the present day, notes Mary boy.
The Navajo regard the cosmic order of the universe as being all about balance, she said. "Something like an eclipse is just part of nature's law. You pause to acknowledge that that time is special, [and] you reflect on the cosmic order."
Mary boy explained that some Navajo still observe traditions associated with an eclipse by staying inside with their family, singing special songs, and refraining from eating, drinking, or sleeping.
You're not supposed to look at an eclipse either, she added. "They say if you look at the sun during an eclipse, it will affect your eyes later." A person who looks at the sun goes out of balance with the universe, leading to problems down the road. The same goes for eating and drinking during this time.
Modern Misunderstandings
As director of the Griffith Observatory, Krupp has heard his share of misunderstandings and fears regarding eclipses.
Perhaps one of the more persistent ones, according to Krupp, is that there is a danger to pregnant women and their unborn children during an eclipse.
"It seems irrational," he said, but they can get dozens of calls asking about it.
Another misconception is that people can't look at the sun when it's completely covered during a total eclipse. Both Krupp and Holbrook mention that of course people shouldn't look directly at the sun. Doing so can cause eye damage. But if the sun is completely covered, it's ok to look at, said Holbrook. "That's when you should be out there experiencing it," she added. (Learn about how to view an eclipse.)
"It's an amazing experience, even though you know it's just the moon moving in front of the sun," Holbrook said. "That's why there are eclipse chasers." (Related: "Chasing the Total Solar Eclipse.")
Eclipses are certainly something Krupp experiences as often as he can. "I've gone after 13 total eclipses so far," he said.
"They're a chance to see the universe working," Krupp explained. It's "the solar system doing its thing right before your eyes, and it's a deep and personal pleasure."




Vedic Astrology on the Upcoming Total Solar Eclipse in USA
Posted by Sam Geppi | Aug 11, 2017 | Vedic Astrology (Jyotish) | 4,895 views
Vedic Astrology on the Upcoming Total Solar Eclipse in USABelow are the Charts of 2 eclipses, 224 years apart. The first chart marks the beginning of the Reign of Terror that began during the French Revolution, when idealogue Robespierre assumed power. The second is the chart of the August 8 Eclipse in the United States.
https://www.indiadivine.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/eclipse-01.jpgIdentical Planetary Placements More Than 200 Years Apart
In both dates we see 7 of the nine visible planets in the exact same signs, an occurrence so rare as to boggle the mind. Also, in each example, the shadow of the eclipse path passes within a few hundred miles of each nation’s capitol.
Rahu, sun, moon and retrograde Mercury in Leo. These are both days of the solar eclipse. Eclipse is also very tight, with an orb between four and 7°. This eclipse in Leo shows a counterfeit version of power, which usually trends toward tyranny and domination.
The common “Mercury retrograde” connection refers to backward thinking, miscommunication, flawed analyses and the lack of discrimination in support of this despotism and violence.
Additionally, we see Mars and Venus, both in cancer. The debilitated Mars shows a lack of discipline and moral integrity (9th house ruler, from Leo). Venus, which shows diplomacy and tolerance is highly compromised by this weakened Mars.
Additionally, prominent/important planets in Scorpio, a sign of paranoia, are ominous – Especially given the aforementioned debilitated Mars. When the ruler is weakened, the lower quality of the sign emerges. Meaning, Scorpio at best is a sign of emotional courage and resolve. When Mars is weakened however, it trends toward paranoia and emotional reaction.
The Eclipse Path of the September 5, 1793 eclipse
https://www.indiadivine.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/eclipse-02.jpg
As you can see in this chart, the path of the eclipse passed within a few hundred miles of Paris, the city in question.
The Eclipse Path of the Solar eclipse Path of August 21, 2017

https://www.indiadivine.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/eclipse-03.jpgAs you can see, the upcoming solar eclipse in August 2017 will pass within a few hundred miles of the US capital, Washington DC.
Chart of the Current President in relation to the August Eclipse Chart
It’s clear to see the connection between the chart of the current president and the 2 eclipse charts. He has a 6° Leo ascendant, with Mars at 3°. The sun will be eclipsed at approximately 5° on August 21, which is right on his ascendant and Mars.
https://www.indiadivine.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/eclipse-04.jpgWhy the Nodes/Rahu?
Do you remember the story of Rahu and Ketu? Rahu had his head chopped off after being deceived. Rahu is a planet of confusion, deception and trickery. In fact, I discovered the connection to the reign of terror, and the solar eclipse, after a prominent decapitation occurred several years ago on a solar eclipse. This led me to investigate the most notorious rain of decapitations in history, the reign of terror in France. Much to my surprise I learned it both began and ended the days of the solar eclipses.
Why Leo?
Leo is the sign of the King. The sun being eclipsed by Rahu shows the obsessives and confused expression of power which led to the bloodbath in France more than 200 years ago. This same confused power struggle is looming ominously before us now.
Thoughts / Predictions / Conclusions
We are not 18th Century France, reacting to an entrenched monarchy system. We are a democracy, with many checks and balances in place to hedge against a literal “Reign of Terror”. But we definitely have a potential for harsh, authoritarian power plays and there are provisions in our bylaws that account for things like “Martial Law”, especially if it is to restore “Public Safety”.
We have already seen, not only attempts to silence dissenters (Media, Intel, Justice), but the removal of scientific data and information from official government websites, the installation of Cabinet members hostile to the Agencies they are meant to protect / citizens they are meant to serve, etc. Given the level of mobilized resistance already to these efforts by the current admin, there is no reason to think it will not get worse before it gets better. In the name of “Public Safety” we may see some attempts to over reach – using nationalguard – for example, or outlawing protests (especially if they get violent which may be coming).
Given the level of mobilized resistance already to these efforts by the current admin, there is no reason to think it will not get worse before it gets better. In the name of “Public Safety” we may see some attempts to over reach – using nationalguard – for example, or outlawing protests (especially if they get violent which may be coming).
It is my hope that the revolution is against the current regime,  that in fact they represent the worn-out aristocracy that began to shift, culturally at least, with Barack Obama. Recognition of mutli-versity and inclusion from the Obama years led to the backlash against it we are seeing – as it was corrupted by the same flawed system of paybacks, elitism and moneyed interests. Those years were seen as a certain Tyranny by some. Whereas others see this current regime as the real tyranny.
I am voting for inclusion and openness.
Following the French Revolution (if you set aside Napoleon’s conquest) France settled into a democratic system. There revolution had to be as harsh (in the reverse) as the system / oppression it was replacing in order to find balance.
  






REFERENCES:

1. Various references cited in my discourses including the one above.
6. Wikipedia and other Internet Sources
7. Yash Shukla, How did Ancient Indians find there were Nine Planets? Internet
8. Katherine Scheu, What to watch for during total Solar Eclipse, USA TODAY Network, Tennessee.