Eclipse, the Astronomical Phenomenon
The earth, which remains our home, is indeed an amazing place. But the sky that seems to act like an expansive cover above us is equally incredible if only we take time off from our hectic lives and bother to look up! This celestial ‘umbrella’ with its innumerable embellishments like the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the stars, remains a world by itself, challenging the power of human comprehension.
This celestial plane has its own share of some exciting happenings, and the eclipse can perhaps be called one of them.
The Sun heads the solar family of planets and remains as the only self-luminary there, from which all others receive light. While all the planets, including our earth, keep revolving around the Sun, the Moon remains a satellite of the earth and keeps going around it. And eclipses are caused by the constant movements our mother earth and the Moon, and the interplay of the light these two bodies receive from the Sun.
When the Moon orbiting around the earth, moves between the Sun and the earth, it obscures the Sun for some time and stops its light from reaching the earth. This causes the solar eclipse, the eclipse of the Sun. And when the earth, while orbiting around the Sun, moves between the Sun and the Moon, it stops sunlight from falling on the Moon. The Moon thus moves into the shadow caused by the earth and thus gets obscured from our sight. This results in the lunar eclipse, the eclipse of the Moon.
The Moon’s constant movement around the earth keeps creating a recurring cycle of different phases of the Moon. The Moon phase is known in tradition as a thithi and starts from Amavasya, the New Moon when the Moon will not be visible in the sky. From then on, it keeps growing in size for a fortnight and reaches the Pournami or Full Moon stage, when it attains the form of a well-rounded disc with maximum brightness. The next cycle begins when the Moon starts gradually diminishing in size in the following fortnight until it becomes Amavasya, the New Moon again when the Moon cannot be seen in the sky.
The solar eclipses take place on the New Moon Amavasya days, whereas the lunar eclipses happen on the Full Moon Pournami days.
Eclipses thus remain regular celestial happenings. But the early humans didn’t take it that way. The Sun, the Moon, and the seasons played a significant role in their lives and societies, and any sudden change in the pattern was viewed with fear and suspicion. As eclipses resulted in the sudden blockage of light from the Sun or the Moon, and at times made those heavenly bodies invisible, the ancients began thinking that it is a catastrophe and a signal for impending danger. With fear in their eyes and hearts, they began praying to the Gods, seeking divine protection. Many rituals and worships thus evolved in due course, which are still in practice, in some form or other in many civilizations and societies.
Mythological stories too evolved around the eclipses in due course. Accordingly, once the Devas, the celestial beings, and the Asuras, the demons churned the vast ocean of milk together to obtain the divine nectar, which can bestow immortality. When this elixir of life emerged from the depth of the ocean, at last, Lord Vishnu decided to share it only with the virtuous Devas, and accordingly worked out a plan for denying it to the demons. But an Asura got wind of the trick, got into the Deva ranks, and managed to drink a few nectar drops. But Surya, the Sun and Chandra, the Moon realized what was happening, and revealed the identity of the demon to Vishnu, who then chopped his body into 2 parts. But the demon still survived due to the nectar-effect, assumed the form of the snake planets Rahu and Ketu, and started taking revenge on the Sun and the Moon who were responsible for his plight. According to this story, Rahu and Ketu are periodically swallowing the Sun and the Moon for various periods and then releasing them, which is why the solar and lunar eclipses, respectively.
Thus, while science can explain the truth behind eclipses, this has a considerable say in both religion and astrology.
Eclipses in 2020
An eclipse cannot be a rare occurrence, for 3 to 7 eclipses do occur every year. And eclipses in 2020 are 6 in number. Of these, Sun eclipse 2020 or solar eclipse 2020 are 2 in number, and Moon eclipse 2020 or lunar eclipse 2020 are 4 in number.
The solar eclipses are scheduled to take place on 21st June Sunday in the zodiac sign Cancer and 14th December Monday, in Sagittarius. Whereas the dates of the lunar eclipses are 10th January, Friday in Cancer, 5th June Friday in Sagittarius, 5th July Sunday in Capricorn and 30th November Monday in Gemini.
The solar eclipse of June will be Annular. In this, the Moon will cover the Sun’s center portion, and leave the Sun’s outer edge to form a bright ring of sunlight. Whereas, the solar eclipse of December is expected to be Total, where the Moon will cover the Sun, entirely.
In respect of the lunar eclipses, all of them are penumbral by nature. In this, the Moon will be passing through the outer portion of the earth’s shadow, which will be faint.
The Eclipse Effect
The eclipses are sure to impact everyone in some form or the other and bring changes in their lives, some significant and some others, not so. Astrological predictions are made for eclipses for a very long time. In the present days of technological advancement, people can refer to even websites for solar eclipse 2020 astrology. These sites can give eclipse wise and Moon sign wise predictions. For instance, the interested can get forecasts for solar eclipse June 2020, lunar eclipse July 2020, etc.
In general, the solar eclipses of 2020 may remain as the signal for fresh beginnings and unexpected new opportunities. Whereas the lunar eclipses can kindle awareness in us about external implications and others’ influences, and help us to let go of futile psychological burdens. Further, the planets present in the cardinal zodiac signs like the Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn in a birth chart are likely to get activated by the eclipses of Cancer-Capricorn. In contrast, the ones in the mutable signs like Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces may get activated by the eclipses of Gemini-Sagittarius.
But, it will be an individual’s birth chart with its unique formation and placements of planets that will decide what will impact an eclipse on that particular person precisely.