Eclipse Observations

  • F. Richard Stephenson
Reference work entry

The theme of this article is eclipse observations; for information on calculating and predicting eclipses, see the article on Eclipse Theories. Eclipses of the Moon and Sun are by no means rare events. In a typical century, as many as 95 lunar eclipses and 40 solar obscurations are visible at any given location (weather permitting). Observations of both types of event are frequently recorded in the history of several non‐Western cultures. In ancient times, reports originate almost entirely from Babylon and China; these mainly commence after about 700 BCE. Although extant Babylonian eclipse records cease around 10 BCE, Chinese accounts continue (almost uninterrupted) down to the modern era. After the middle of the first millennium AD, further observations become available from Korea and Japan and also the Islamic world.

As yet, virtually no eclipse records have been uncovered from other major non‐Western civilizations–such as ancient Egypt, India or Central America. Possible...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • F. Richard Stephenson

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