With just the right alignment of the sun, moon and Earth, a total solar eclipse will occur during which time the moon completely covers the sun. This occurrence happens during a new moon phase but not every new moon. As a general rule, at least twice each year (and sometimes as many as five times in a year), a new moon will align itself in just such a way to shadow, or eclipse, the sun. With today's age of technology far reaching any level known to our primitive ancestors, along with exceedingly advanced astrological means, it is not unusual for any individual to be exposed to a solar eclipse - books, magazines, photographs, encyclopedias, Internet, videos, etc. Solar eclipses are worldwide phenomenons observed at different intervals dependent upon where a person is located on Earth.
What one must do today is step back in time way before most telescopic and astrological devices were known to man. The devices of the times were by today's standards considered primitive. Put yourself in a situation with a backdrop where a total solar eclipse is about to occur without any knowledge of such an occurrence other than a person's prediction. In fact, place yourself in the midst of an Alaskan Indian tribe remembering that Indians are very spiritual about nature, the sun, moon and stars.
At this point, you might already be wondering how a solar eclipse could save lives. The key words so far are prediction and Indians. Indians are very superstitious by nature, wary of intruders, especially the 'white' man. It is an account witnessed by George Davidson, a geodesist, astronomer, geographer, surveyor and engineer in the United States, along with an exploration party, that led to salvation of a solar eclipse. Davidson's next scientific trip included travel to Alaska where he proposed to the Chilkat Indians that all he desires is to observe a total eclipse of the sun. What reaction would you expect, especially during a time when communications are already hostile? A happy ending...
On this day in 1869, the sky grew dark over the Chilkat Valley as the moon eclipsed the sun, as Davidson had predicted. Apparently dismayed by this frightening display of power--some may have believed Davidson actually caused the eclipse rather than merely predicting it--the Chilkat fled to the woods. Thereafter, they left Davidson and his party alone, leading one historian to speculate that the astronomer's prediction may have saved the entire team from attack. Source: History.com
This, of course, was not the first ever solar eclipse nor will it be the last. The most current solar eclipse was an annular eclipse occurring on April 29, 2014. Have you ever see a solar eclipse? There are more to come so when will be the next one and who will be able to view it? Mark your calendars. If you have the opportunity, you certainly do not want to miss it!