First total solar eclipse to be predicted occurred in 585 B.C.

June 2nd, 2008 - 2:59 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, June 2 (ANI): Historians have suggested that the first total solar eclipse to be predicted was the one that brought an abrupt halt to a battle in Asia Minor in 585 B.C.

The Greek historian Herodotus wrote that Thales of Milete predicted an eclipse in a year when the Medians and the Lydians were at war.

Using the same calculating methods that predict future eclipses, astronomers have been able to calculate when eclipses occurred in the past.

The most likely candidate for Thales eclipse took place on May 28, 585 B.C., though some authorities believe it may have been 25 years earlier in 610 B.C.

Though the method that Thales used to make his prediction is not known, it may have been used only once, because there are no other records of the Greeks of this era accurately predicting further eclipses.

Thales is believed to have studied the Egyptians techniques of land measurement (geo metry in Greek) later codified by Euclid.

It is not sure whether Thales made the famous eclipse prediction himself, or if he simply borrowed it from the Egyptians.

However he made the prediction, and however precise or vague it may have been, the eclipse occurred.

At that time, Aylattes, the king of Lydia, was battling Cyaxares, king of the Medes, probably near the River Halys in what is now central Turkey.

The advent of the eclipse made the warring armies lay down their arms and declare a truce.

After 15 years of back-and-forth fighting between the Medes and the Lydians, the kings of Cilicia and Babylon intervened and negotiated a treaty. The River Halys, where the Battle of the Eclipse was fought, became the border between the Lydians and the Medes. (ANI)

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