Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saros Cycles and Ecplises

Solar and lunar eclipses occur in cycles known as the Saros. The sarosis a period of approximately 223 synodic months (approximately 18 years, 11 days, 8 hours), that can be used to predict eclipses of the Sun and Moon. A series of eclipses that are separated by one saros is called a saros series. It is believed that the Greek word saros comes from the Babylonian word "sāru" which refers to the number 3600.

Abraham's Nilotic ancestors were experts at predicting eclipses because they had been observing patterns in the heavens and keeping records of astronomical events for thousands of years.

By 4245 BC, the priests of the Upper Nile had already established a calendar based on the appearance of the star Sirius that becomes visible to the naked eye once every 1,461 years. Apparently, Nilotes had been tracking this star and connecting it to seasonal changes and agriculture for thousands of years. This is verified by the Priest Manetho who reported in his history (241 BC) that Nilotic Africans had been “star-gazing” as early as 40,000 years ago. Plato, who studied in Egypt for 13 years, claimed that the Africans had been tracking the heavens for 10,000 years.

Priest-astronomer Taitai, 18th Dynasty ~1380 B.C. 
Berlin, Neues Museum, Ägyptische Sammlungen

Temple architecture of ancient Egypt provides evidence that Egyptians observed solar eclipses over 4,500 years ago. The Zodiac of the Dendera Temple shows two disks in the constellation of Pisces. One is the moon and the other disk contains the Wadjet or Eye of Horus decorated with the markings of the eyes of a hawk, the totem of Horus. When the right eye is shown it indicates a solar eclipse. David Smith explains that "a nearly total solar eclipse occurred on a date corresponding very closely to the actual depiction of the positions of the planets in the constellations and the position of the disk containing the Wadjet eye in 51 B.C."

An ancient Egyptian story tells of Horus losing an eye in his fight with Set and it is possible that this story is based on an astronomical event. It suggests observation of a solar eclipse.


Smith, David G., Total solar eclipses in Ancient Egypt – a new interpretation of some New Kingdom texts.

Neugebauer, The Exact Sciences in Antiquity. Brown University Press, p. 195.

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