Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 2)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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colours of
the eclipses.


of his countrymen, who like to mix up peas with wolf's
beans, pearls with dung, says, without quoting any
authority for his words (V. 63): " If at the time of an
eclipse a violent wind blows, the next eclipse will be
six months later. If a star falls down, the next eclipse
will be twelve months later. If the air is dusty, it will
be eighteen months later. If there is an earthquake, it
will be twenty-four months later. If the air is dark, it
will be thirty months later. If hail falls, it will be
thirty-six months later."

To such things silence is the only proper answer.

I shall not omit to mention that the different kinds
of eclipses described in the canon of Alkhwarizmi,
though correctly represented, do not agree with the
results of actual observation. More correct is a similar
view of the Hindus, viz. that the eclipse has the colour
of smoke if it covers less than half the body of the
moon ; that it is coal-black if it completely covers one
half of her; that it has a colour between black and red
if the eclipse covers more than half of her body; and,
lastly, that it is yellow-brown if it covers the whole
body of the moon.
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