New Delhi: Astronomers have appealed to Indians to upload selfies with the hashtag #EclipseEating while enjoying food during the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century on Friday, in a bid to dispel the myths and superstitions surrounding the celestial event.
The total phase of the "blood moon" eclipse of July 27 will last one hour and 43 minutes, during which Earth's natural satellite will turn a spectacular red or ruddy-brown colour. From start to finish, the entire celestial event will last nearly four hours.
However, existing superstitions and myths among the people in India keeps them from witnessing one of the most beautiful phenomenon of universe.
"Unfortunately among people there are lot of false beliefs or superstitions about eclipses. There are beliefs that we should not go out and see them, we should not eat during eclipse etc," said Niruj Mohan Ramanujam from National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Pune.
"Eclipse is the time when we realise that the universe is extremely grand where things move constantly. To miss such an event would be a pity," Ramanujam, who is also a member of the Public Outreach and Education Committee at Astronomical Society of India, told PTI.
"We are encouraging people to start the campaign, to take a pictures of them with their friends and family of eating and drinking and post it on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #EclipseEating," Ramanujam said.
"You are not scared if the mountain hides the Sun from you, so why should you be scared if Moon hides the Sun from you?" he said.
Even ancient Indian astronomers tell us that there is nothing to be afraid of from eclipses, he added.
"We want to dispell these notions because they are not based on scientific fact," Ramanujam.
The hashtag #EclipseEating was also trending during the total lunar eclipse described as a "supermoon" that occurred on January 31 this year.
Uploading selfies of eating and drinking during the time of eclipse would be starting step towards breaking the false belief system prevalent in public.