Appendix Calculating Eclipses

We have seen in the main text how various forms of eclipse result from cosmic alignments and found evidence of the regularities in their occurrences. There are, though, many details that we glossed over, postponing their discussion to this Appendix. This was for two main reasons: one is that too much mathematical discussion tends to interrupt the flow of narrative, and the other is that many readers will feel uncomfortable with such analysis anyway.

In fact the calculations involved in eclipse prediction can be understood quite simply, once one has learned a little about how celestial objects move in their orbits. No higher math is needed than straightforward arithmetic, as you will see if you follow the arguments through as they are laid out below. In doing so you will gain a greater appreciation not only of eclipses, but also of our calendar, of how the movements of the Moon and Sun affect our climate here on the Earth, and various other matters.You will also catch a glimpse of how various ancient civilizations discovered the ways the eclipse cycles work, despite the fact that it would yet be many centuries before the nature of planetary orbits around the Sun was comprehended, in renaissance Europe. It is worth the little effort.

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