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A total lunar eclipse - the cosmic event occasioned when the earth is positioned exactly between the sun and the moon, and our planet's shadow falls on its natural satellite - will be visible across India tomorrow.
You'll witness a phenomenon called the "blood moon," in which the normally white orb acquires a red-brown glow, according to the BM Birla Science Centre in Hyderabad. The event will also bring about phenomena called the Blue Moon and the Super Moon, the centre said.
Unfortunately, in 2018, a time when fake news inundates social media feeds and online messaging apps at alarming speeds, superstition is still rife in Indian society.
Consider some of the advice that a 'spiritual healer' and tarot reader (we don't name her because the purpose is not to shame her), has for you ahead of tomorrow's lunar eclipse. Here are some of the do's and don'ts she listed, while speaking to one of our Kolkata correspondents.
TAROT READER'S ADVICE
Driving any sort of vehicle, and riding on a horse or any animal should be avoided.
Do not sleep during the eclipse, as sleep will weaken your aura during this period.
Do not touch bed sheets, pillow covers, windows/doors, etcetera during the eclipse. If you touch them by any chance, they should be washed after the end of the eclipse.
Visiting the washroom should be avoided unless it's necessary.
Take a salt water bath after the eclipse to remove any negative energy which may have entered your aura during the eclipse.
ADVICE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN: Pregnant ladies should take full rest and keep a full coconut beside them during the event to protect their babies from the harsh energies. The coconut can be discarded later.
Pregnant ladies shouldn't go outdoors, or use any sharp objects. They should avoid eating during this period.
So, to sum up, between 5:20 pm and 7:25 pm (that's when the main eclipse ends), you should avoid going to the washroom, sleeping, driving, and, well, riding horses.
NOW SOME REAL ADVICE
The BM Birla Science Centre says superstitious beliefs - like not eating anything during a total lunar eclipse - don't have any scientific basis.
Meanwhile, the US' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) appears unconcerned about the perils of untimely horse rides.
Its Eclipse website contains a link to this essay, titled "Lunar Eclipses for Beginners," which contains the following advice:
"Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are completely safe to watch. You don't need any kind of protective filters. It isn't even necessary to use a telescope. You can watch the lunar eclipse with nothing more than your own two eyes."
The author adds: "If you have a pair of binoculars, they will help magnify the view and will make the red coloration brighter and easier to see. A standard pair of 7x35 or 7x50 binoculars work fine. Remember to dress warmly and enjoy the spectacle!"
We'll end on that note. [...]
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