of the

Saros Cycle
A interesting fact about the eclipse is that the eclipse repeats itself in a cycle of 18 years 11 days and 8 hours. Due to the 8 hour factor, and on account of the earth's rotation, the eclipse gets shifted by a hundred and twenty degrees to another place on the earth. But again, with every 3 repetitions of the Saros cycle accounting for 54 years and 34 days, the eclipse could happen over the same region all over again (with a shift in the latitudes, of course)..

For example, the eclipse that is anticipated for 11th August '99 seems to be a repeat of the one that had happened on July 9th 1945. In fact, this knowledge that the eclipses repeat in cycles, could well be used to predict eclipses across large stretches of time periods - both into the future as well as into the past.

Cycle of the Century
Eclipses can be used as a calendar in units of 54 years to form an important chronological marker, and has been useful for dating some important documents in history. This technique has been used by historians for fixing exact dates of past events.

Knowledge of Eclipses
Quite early on, the Babylonians discovered the Saros Cycle. The earliest record of a solar eclipse, however, is known to have come from ancient China. The date of this eclipse has been dated as October 22, 2134 BC

Prediction of eclipses gave the predictors extraordinary power over society. They kept this knowledge as a secret to themselves and allowed for mystification of the sciences.


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