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A solar eclipse, showing the moon's orbital nodes. [1]

An eclipse is when the Moon blocks the Sun from the Earth, or vice versa.

In ancient Indian mythology, the eclipse was said to be Rāhu eating the Sun or Moon. Later on, Vedic astronomers understood that eclipses occur when the Moon crosses through the ecliptic at one of it's two orbital nodes, while simultaneously being in line with the Earth, causing a shadow. Thus the ascending node of the moon was sometimes referred to as Rāhu.[2]

The two nodes were sometimes classified together with the planets. [3] Eventually this terminology was replaced by the use of the word pāta to describe the nodes. [2]

Āryabhaṭa I wrote of the Moon's shadow causing solar eclipses.[2] Eclipses are also mentioned in the Pauliśa Siddhānta, the Romaka Siddhānta, the Saura Siddhānta, and the Vāsiṣṭha Siddhānta. The Vāsiṣṭha of Varāhamihira's Pancasiddhāntikā gives calculations regarding the lunar eclipse. [2]

Parameśvara studied solar and lunar eclipses extensively, circa 1393 AD onward. Many of his observations and insights are recorded in his work Siddhāntadipikā: Template:Ref-MBh Bhāsyavyākhyā.[4]

The points of first and last contact are called Sparśa (pragraha) and mokṣa, respectively. [5] The magnitude of the eclipse is called by Bhāskara II as the Sthagita[6]

See Also


  1. Based on descriptions in Template:Ref-millar pg 186-189
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Template:Ref-indian-astronomy, p. xxxv - xxxvii
  3. Template:Refia13.1.1
  4. Template:Refia-2.7.1
  5. Template:Refia16.11.1d
  6. Template:Refia16.11.1b