World, not India, to witness two eclipses this month
Mumbai, Nov 1 (IANS) In a rare celestial treat for astronomers, the world will witness two eclipses within a gap of just a fortnight this month, creating a lot of excitement among the scientific and astrological fraternities, a leading astronomer said here. India will, however, miss out.
Parts of the southern hemisphere will witness a total solar eclipse Nov. 13, on which Diwali will be celebrated in India, said scientist Bharat Adur, head of the Akash Ganga Centre for Astronomy (AGCA) here.
A fortnight later, Nov. 28, large parts of northern and southern America and parts of Australia and surrounding regions will witness a total lunar eclipse.
Both the eclipses will not be visible in India, Adur said.
The November 13 solar eclipse also marks the start of the Shia Muslim's New Year as per the Egyptian calendar.
"This will be first major and much-anticipated celestial development after the world witnessed two full moons, a partial lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse in quick succession in January 2010, presenting a rare opportunity to astronomers and physicists the world over," Adur told IANS.
The year 2010 had started with a partial lunar eclipse Jan 1, followed by a total solar eclipse Jan 15 and topped off by a second large full moon Jan 30 which was called the Blue Moon," Adur told IANS.
A similar celestial spectacle is expected in 2013 with a total solar eclipse May 10 and a total lunar eclipse May 25.
Like the second solar eclipse of 2012 (May 20), this month's (Nov 13) solar eclipse will be visible over northern Australia, Australasia, Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean, parts of Antartica and southern half of South America and will totally last around 3.1 hours, Adur said.
The Nov. 28 lunar eclipse will be best visible in Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, parts of East Asia, western Canada and western USA.
Explaining the astrological significance, eminent Mumbai astrologer Milan Thakar said that this is the third time in 250 years and the second time in 17 years that Diwali will be "eclipsed".
The previous occasions were in 1762 and 1995.
"The known path of the eclipse does not cover or touch India in any manner. So, we should not be concerned about any negative effects of this eclipse. People can perform all their pujas and other rituals without any hesitation," Thakar assured.
Internationally renowned guru and tantric Probir Bhattacharjee said that the "rarest of rare Diwali eclipse" this year would be a boon for people engaged in spiritual activities.
"The cosmic energies shall be at their most powerful levels and enhance all types of spiritual activities during the month, with massive concentration during the solar eclipse on Diwali and up to the lunar eclipse Nov. 28," Bhattacharjee explained.
Nevertheless, Thakar said that any Diwali eclipse portends political imbalances, major disasters, economic downswings, downfall, civil unrest and other destabilizing events, especially in developing countries.
Adur, however, termed the developments as "purely natural phenomena which will be studied in detail scientifically" without concerning or mixing them with people's religious or astrological beliefs.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)