Treat eclipses as natural celestial events : Astrophysicist
An eminent astrophysicist has called for treating eclipses as natural celestial events and not believe in superstitions surrounding these. Different parts of India and the world are set to witness a total lunar eclipse on Tuesday, just a fortnight after a partial solar eclipse.
Astrophysicist Debi Prasad Duari said it is unfortunate that people give credence to superstitions related to such natural celestial events despite the immense developments in space science and technology in the 21st century. "People should not believe in this sort of things and go ahead and treat it as just a natural celestial event," he said.
Duari, a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and International Astronomical Union, said that superstitions surrounding a solar or lunar eclipse are prevalent not only in the country but also in different pockets across the world. In India, people do not eat or cook food during eclipses. Some do not even step out in the open during these celestial events. It is also believed by some that pregnant women should not step out of their homes during an eclipse as being exposed to it may harm a foetus.
Superstitions surrounding solar eclipses are, however, more compared to those with the lunar eclipse. "In no way is an eclipse going to affect our life, our behaviour, our future or our past," Duari said. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the shadow region of the earth on a full moon night, the astrophysicist said. Precautions are not required to watch lunar eclipse, though it is a must to take certain safeguards for watching a solar eclipse.
Watching a solar eclipse through naked eyes can cause irreversible damage to the retina. Besides India, residents of other parts of Asia, North and South America, Australia, north Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean will be able to view the celestial event, he added.