Eclipse Mechanics & Saros Ser ies Meaning

By Julene Packer, Dipl.OCA, I SAR- CAP

M e ch a n ics of Eclipse s
Eclipses occur when t he Sun, Eart h and Moon align w it h t he Moon’s Nodes.
The alignm ent w it h t he Lunar Nodes is t he fact or t hat m akes a New and Full
Moon becom e a Solar and Lunar Eclipse. The Lunar Nodes are t he point s
where t he Moon’s orbit crosses t he Eclipt ic Plane, which is det er m ined by t he
Eart h’s orbit around t he Sun. As a result , when t he Moon conj unct s her
Nort h or Sout h Node, it m eans she is on t he sam e plane as Eart h. This
happens every 14 days. Also occurring every 14 days is t he conj unct ion or
opposit ion of t he Moon & Sun. Yet , in order for an eclipse t o occur, bot h
t hings m ust be happening at t he sam e t im e: t he conj unct ion or opposit ion of
t he Sun & Moon along wit h t he Moon’s conj unct ion t o her nort h or sout h
node. These t wo t hings st acking up at 14 day int ervals are w hy we always
have a Lunar Eclipse occurring w it h a Solar Eclipse eit her before or aft er.
Eclipse Se a son
Eclipse season sim ply m eans t hat t he bot h condit ions are present and
eclipses will occur.
The New & Full Moon is coinciding w it h t he Moon
conj unct ing her nodes. Eclipse season last s for 37.5 days. This t im e fram e
com es from t he fact t hat when a New Moon occurs wit hin 18.75 days from a
nodal conj unct ion, a Solar Eclipse w ill occur. This 18.75 day period before
and aft er t he alignm ent adds up t o t he 37.5 day eclipse season window.
Som et im es t he condit ions are such t hat a t hird eclipse occurs, eit her solar or
lunar in one eclipse season. For inst ance in June of 2002 w e had a solar
eclipse bet ween t wo lunar eclipses. I n August of 2000 we had a lunar eclipse
bet ween t wo solar eclipses. I n bot h cases all t hree eclipses occurred wit hin
t he 37.5 day w indow of eclipse season.
Eclipse Ye a r s
Every 346.62 days t he Moon’s Nort h Node aligns w it h t he Sun providing us
wit h an eclipse year. The fact t hat t his num ber is not t he sam e as our
365.25 day solar year is t he reason t hat eclipse season doesn’t occur at t he
sam e t im e each year in exact 6 m ont h int ervals. Because t he alignm ent of
t he Lunar Nodes wit h t he Sun occurs 18.63 days sooner t han t he Eart h
com plet es a full revolut ion around t he Sun, t he Eclipse Season regresses
each year. Looking at our last few solar eclipses around t his t im e, we can
see t his happening. Going back t o May 26, 2002, we had an Annular Solar
Eclipse. The follow ing year we had a Part ial Solar Eclipse on April 19, 2004.
On April 8, 2005 we had an Annular/ Tot al Solar Eclipse. This year we have a
Tot al Solar Eclipse on March 29, 2006.

Part ial and Annular . The Moon appears largest at perigee ( when closest t o eart h) and sm allest at apogee. During a Part ial Solar Eclipse. An Annular Eclipse is a t ype of Tot al Eclipse. t he Moon only covers part of t he Sun’s disk. Can you see t he eclipse regression w it h each eclipse in it s season occurring earlier t han t he pr evious year? Did you not ice t hat each one is approxim at ely 9 days earlier? Half of t he 18.Moon conj unct ion and t he Moon’s Nodes. The reason has t o do wit h t he m oon’s apogee ( her furt hest dist ance from Eart h) . However in an Annular Eclipse a ring of fire is left around t he Moon as she passes in front of t he Sun. Last ly. Not ice t here are som e grey areas where eit her a t ot al or par t ial eclipse can occur and also where a part ial m ay or m ay not occur at all. Therefore t he Sun is not com plet ely covered even t hough t he Moon passes ent irely over t he Sun from our plane of view. . There are t hree m ain t ypes of Solar Eclipses t hat can occur: Tot al. The next year we had a Part ial Solar Eclipse on Oct ober 14. we had an Annular Solar Eclipse Oct ober 3.63 day difference per year goes t o each season. 2004. Proxim it y t o Nodes Tot al Eclipse Part ial Eclipse No Eclipse 00: 00 – 09: 55 XXXXXX 09: 56 – 11: 15 ///////// \\\\\ 11: 16 – 15: 21 15: 22 – 18: 31 18: 32 – 29: 59 XXXXXX \\\\\ ////////// XXXXX During a Tot al Solar Eclipse t he Sun becom es com plet ely covered by t he Moon. Lat er t his year we will have an Annular Eclipse on Sept em ber 22. This t ype of eclipse begins as one and ends as t he ot her as it m akes it s eclipse pat h across t he globe. 2005. 2002 we had a Tot al Solar Eclipse. The t able below shows t he orb in degrees and m inut es bet ween t he Sun. 2003. 2005. we can have an Annular.Tot al Eclipse which m eans t hat over part s of t he world a Tot al Eclipse w ill occur and an Annular w ill occur over ot hers. Type s of Sola r Eclipse & W h a t D e t er m in e s Th e m Solar Eclipses occur when t he New Moon passes in front of t he Sun and covers t he sun’s disk from view.I ’ll give anot her exam ple w it h t he aut um n eclipses. Last year.Moon conj unct ion. 2006. So when t he Moon is nearer her apogee point of orbit an annular eclipse can occur. Follow ing t hat was t he Tot al Solar Eclipse of Novem ber 23. This happened on April 8. Which one it w ill be is det erm ined by t he proxim it y of t he Moon’s Nodes t o t he Sun. The Moon does pass com plet ely over t he Sun and t he degrees for t his t o occur are t he sam e as for a Tot al Eclipse. Going back t o Decem ber 4.

The Moon disappears from view because no sun light is get t ing t o her surface t o reflect . The part of t he m oon t hat does not disappear becom es sort of st range in color because som e shadow is cast and som e light can st ill get t hrough. Hence we have t he dim m er swit ch affect visually when we look at t he m oon. Again we have t he sam e grey areas. Our current eclipse is an Appulse. but t his t im e t he orbs are m uch sm aller. Part ial and Appulse. I t rem inds m e of how a dim m er swit ch can let only som e of t he wat t age illum inat e a light bulb. The Eart h’s shadow is broken down int o t wo cat egories: um bra and penum bra. The t able below shows t he orb in degrees and m inut es bet ween t he Full Moon and t he Moon’s Nodes. also known as a penum bral eclipse. The um bra is t he direct port ion shadow cast from head on. ( The Moon would be on one of t he horizont al lines in t he above pict ure. .000 words in t his case for sure! A Tot al Eclipse occurs when t he Moon m oves com plet ely int o t he um bra shadow ( as in t he pict ure above) . During an appulse t he Moon m oves int o t he penum bra shadow but never goes int o t he um bra port ion. There are t hree t ypes of Lunar Eclipses t hat can occur: Tot al.Type s of Lun a r Eclipse s & W h a t D e t e r m in e s Th e m Lunar Eclipses occur when t he Full Moon passes t hrough t he Eart h’s shadow ( cast by t he sun) on t he opposit e side of t he Sun. A pict ure is wort h 1.) I n t his case only part of t he m oon disappears and we get t hose cases where it looks like som eone t ook a bit e out of t he m oon. The penum bra is t he angular port ion of t he shadow cast due t o t he curvat ure of Eart h. we have t o exam ine t he shadow Eart h cast s on t he side t hat is away from t he Sun. Proxim it y t o Nodes Tot al Eclipse Part ial Eclipse No Eclipse 00: 00 – 03: 45 XXXXXX 03: 46 – 06: 00 ///////// \\\\\ 06: 01 – 09: 30 9: 30 – 12: 15 12: 16 – 29: 59 XXXXXX \\\\\ ////////// XXXXX To underst and Lunar Eclipses. The Eart h is bet ween t he Sun and Moon. A Part ial Eclipse occurs when t he m oon is part ially in t he um bra shadow and part ially in t he penum bra shadow.

t his cycle also reaches t hat num ber of days.” Ot her planet ary pict ures she refers t o in t he chart are PL= VE/ SA= MO/ NO and MA= ME= MO/ NE. This is a t im e when t he person needs t o be fr ee. This num ber 19 is significant . 2006 at 08Ar ies35 Where do t hese fall in your chart ? Bring your chart t o t he Lect ure Hall on Sat urday March 18. The aut um n/ wint er eclipses of t hose years involved t he Moon’s Sout h Node and are labeled “ Sout h” .53 days equals 6585. insight s. ( Each saros series get s it s m eaning from t he aspect s present in t he original eclipse chart . 1501 at 03: 39: 06 GMT. I f we look at our current solar eclipse of March 29. EST and we’ll discuss it . You’ll see it is as Bernadet t e Brady says “The New Moon squares Uranus and is also on t he m idpoint of Mercury/ Venus. 223 synodic m ont hs of 29. . Aft er 223 synodic m ont hs. visions or vivid dream s. Run a chart in your soft ware for t he eclipses and see for yourself. good ideas. Not ice also how t he num bers of Nort h and Sout h in t he Saros Series appendix t able range from 1 – 19 ( pp 337 – 351) . 2006 at 24Vir go15 Solar Eclipse: March 29.53 days.) I nv ent iveness and flashes of genius are hallm ark of t his Saros Series. t hereby causing st rain in t he privat e life. 2006 at 1: 00 p. The t wo fact ors do not coincide at any t im e before t hat . [ Brady.m . I f you t ake an eclipse year of 346. The individual will have int uit ive leaps. We also see t he planet ary posit ions of t he original eclipse chart . This m eans t he Moon’s Nort h Node is involved in t he aforem ent ioned solar eclipses. you’ll not ice t he eclipses I m ent ioned above during t he spr ing/ sum m er eclipse season are all labeled “ Nort h” ( pp 348 – 349) . The synodic cycle of t he Sun & Moon is 29. Plug t his dat a int o your soft ware and see for yourself. This equat es t o 18 calendar years and 10 or 11 days.Th e Sa r os Se r ie s – M e ch a n ics I f you have Bernadet t e Brady’s book ent it led The Eagle and t he Lark. p318] Eclipse D e gr e e s for M a r ch 2 0 0 6 Lunar Eclipse: March 14. Turning t o page 318 we see t hat t he Saros Series of 8 Nort h began on May 17.62 days and m ult iply t hat by 19 you get a t ot al of 6585. This is t he great er eclipse cycle t hat Babylonian ast ronom ers not iced.19 days. Saros m eans ‘repeat s’ and aft er 19 eclipse year cycles. we see it is labeled 8 Nort h. t he Saros Series st art s over at 1 again.78 days. Th e Sa r os Se r ie s – M e a n in g The m eaning of each saros series is det erm ined by t he aspect s t hat were present at t he first solar eclipse of t he series. if only for a few week s. I t is from t hese aspect s t hat t he follow ing int erpret at ion of t his saros ser ies is derived. The new found inspirat ion will pull t he person away from his or her social life or r elat ionship. 2006 in The Eagle and t he Lark.