Why are temples closed during a solar eclipse

Asia : Solar eclipse: fearful people flock to the temples

It's been ten years since the sun disappeared in the middle of the day in Central Europe. Tomorrow, Wednesday, it's that time again, but this time in Asia. As early as 2:51 a.m. CEST, the moon will move between earth and sun in such a way that it casts its shadow on the Arabian Sea near the west coast of India. Because it is still dark there at this time, the phenomenon will not be visible.

In the following hours, the carousel of the celestial bodies will cause the umbra of the moon to migrate eastward across the Indian subcontinent. The spectacle can be observed from around the city of Bhopal, where the rising of the sun meets with its temporary cover by the earth's satellite. According to the astronomers' calculations, the total solar eclipse will last around three minutes there.

Most Hindu temples will be closed on Wednesday according to Vedic tradition - ancient Hindu culture. According to Vedic astrology, the solar eclipse is unholy and malicious. Rahu and Ketu, the unholy planets, are therefore the cause of misfortune during the solar eclipse. Many temples such as the famous Sri Kanakadurga temple in Vijayawada in southern India are therefore being closed. The Shiva temples are an exception. Shiva is itself a "Layakara", a term for darkness and darkness. Many Shiva temples also have a "Navagraha Kavacha", a protection that neutralizes the adverse effects of the solar eclipse and protects the devotees. That is why many people flock to these temples.

Pregnant women in particular do not dare to go outside during the solar eclipse because they are afraid that their unborn baby will be harmed.

Much further east of India, in Shanghai, which is close to the central shadow line, the darkening of the sun will last for five minutes on Wednesday. The longest - at least when viewed from the mainland - it lasts over the Japanese volcanic island of Kita Iwo Jima, a total of six minutes and 34 seconds. Over the waves of the Pacific at the coordinates 24 degrees north and 144 degrees east, it takes even five seconds longer. This means that the total solar eclipse will be the longest in the 21st century.

In addition to the rare coincidence that the sun, moon and earth are on the same line, there is another stroke of luck: The moon today reaches the closest point on its orbit at "only" 360,000 kilometers away, while the earth less than three weeks ago passed its furthest point from the sun at around 152 million kilometers. That is why the apparent diameter of the moon is particularly large and the sun is relatively small. Seen from the earth, the total coverage of our central star lasts a very long time.

Provided the weather cooperates. The likelihood that the spectacle will take place behind a cloud cover is greater in India than the chance of an undisguised view. In China and over the Pacific, the forecasts are at least 1: 1.

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