Solar Eclipses occur when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth and the moon partially or totally blocks the view of the sun. It is extremely rare and amazing, as those of us who are lucky enough to get a good view will see on August 21 this year.
What’s amazing about solar eclipses is that they are better viewed on Earth than they would be anywhere else in the entire solar system. “There’s a striking convergence of rare properties that allow people on Earth to witness solar eclipses […] There’s no law of physics that would necessitate this” (Strobel 196).
In addition to just being amazingly beautiful, solar eclipses allow observers on Earth can “discern finer details in the sun’s chromosphere and corona than from any other planet, which makes these eclipses scientifically rich” (196). Solar eclipses create the perfect environment for scientists to discover the otherwise enigmatic.
Important Scientific Discoveries During Eclipses
Firstly, total solar eclipses allowed scientists to learn about the nature of stars. Astronomers used spectroscopes to learn “how the sun’s color spectrum is produced, and that data helped them later interpret the spectra of distant stars” (196). Secondly, a perfect eclipse in 1919 prompted two teams of astronomers to confirm the fact that gravity bends light, which Einstein predicted in his general theory of relativity. That test was only possible during a total solar eclipse. Thirdly, perfect eclipses provided a historical record allowing astronomers to calculate the change in the Earth’s rotation over the past thousand years.
“What’s mysterious […] is that the same conditions that give us a habitable planet also make our location so wonderful for scientific measurement and discovery. […] There’s a correlation between habitability and measurability” (197).
We are in the perfect location to observe all of this. Our atmosphere is transparent, allowing us to actually see to observe all of this.
“If God so precisely and carefully and lovingly and amazingly constructed a mind-boggling habitat for his creatures, then it would be natural for him to want them to explore it, to measure it, to investigate it, to appreciate it, to be inspired by it– and ultimately, and most importantly, to find Him through it” (202).
Thanks again for reading! Since I will be going back to school very shortly, the publishing of the blog posts (particularly the apologetics series) will significantly slow down. I just won’t have enough time to dedicate myself to the research and I do not want to post half-baked, under-supported blogs. However, as always, I am open to suggestions and questions!
Strobel, L. A Case for a Creator. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.