Why is a lunar eclipse important?
New Delhi, Nov 17: While there are many myths around a lunar eclipse, the fact is that science has termed it as an extremely important event.
NASA says Lunar eclipses have long played an important role in understanding Earth and its motions in space.
In ancient Greece, Aristotle noted that the shadows on the Moon during lunar eclipses were round, regardless of where an observer saw them. He realized that only if Earth were a spheroid would its shadows be round - a revelation that he and others had many centuries before the first ships sailed around the world.
Earth wobbles on its axis like a spinning top that's about to fall over, a phenomenon called precession.
Earth completes one wobble, or precession cycle, over the course of 26,000 years. Greek astronomer Hipparchus made this discovery by comparing the position of stars relative to the Sun during a lunar eclipse to those recorded hundreds of years earlier. A lunar eclipse allowed him to see the stars and know exactly where the Sun was for comparison - directly opposite the Moon. If Earth didn't wobble, the stars would appear to be in the same place they were hundreds of years earlier. When Hipparchus saw that the stars' positions had indeed moved, he knew that Earth must wobble on its axis!
Additionally, modern-day astronomers have used ancient eclipse records and compared them with computer simulations. These comparisons helped scientists determine the rate at which Earth's rotation is slowing, the NASA portal also said. To read the full article visit https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/news/2018/1/18/how-to-watch-a-total-lunar-eclipse-and-get-students-observing-the-moon/.