Scientists claim eclipses are regular, predictable phenomena – not portents of evil.
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... If you didn't know what was going on, it's easy to see why you would be extremely worried," he told AFP.It was not until we could accurately predict the path of the moon around the Earth, of the Earth around the sun, and the distances between all three, that total eclipses became less alarming.The moon orbits Earth at a slightly tilted angle, with the result that it mostly passes too high, or too low, to block out the sun.But once about every 18 months or so, our satellite crosses on just the right plane to block out the sun's light and cast a shadow somewhere on Earth.This made it possible to predict where on Earth an eclipse will be visible from, giving rise to a new era of eclipse chasers.For hundreds of years, eclipses offered the only way to observe the sun's atmosphere, or corona, to learn more about its temperature, composition and magnetic properties.Usually obscured by the sun's blinding brightness, the corona becomes visible during an eclipse as a ring of light encircling the black disk that is the moon.
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