Wednesday, February 20, 2008

328)Tonight most North Americans will see a total lunar eclipse; What the last one(March 2007) looked like; Quotes of Aga Khans.

"......The Quran tells us that signs of Allah’s Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation - in the heavens and the earth, the night and the day, the clouds and the seas, the winds and the waters...."(Aga Khan IV, Kampala, Uganda, August 22 2007)

"Astronomy, the so-called “Science of the Universe” was a field of particular distinction in Islamic civilization-–in sharp contrast to the weakness of Islamic countries in the field of Space research today. In this field, as in others, intellectual leadership is never a static condition, but something which is always shifting and always dynamic"(Aga Khan IV, Convocation, American University of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt, June 15th 2006)

"The Quran very often refers to nature as a reflection of Allah's power of creation and says: Look at the mountains, look at the rivers, look at the trees, look at the flowers all as evidence of Allah's love for the people whom He has created. Today I look at this environment and I say that I beleive that Allah is smiling upon you, may His smile always be upon you"(Aga Khan IV, Tajikistan, May 27th 1995)

“Muslims believe in an all-encompassing unit of man and nature. To them there is no fundamental division between the spiritual and the material while the whole world, whether it be the earth, sea or air, or the living creatures that inhabit them, is an expression of God’s creation.”(Aga Khan IV, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, 13 April 1984)

"God has given us the miracle of life with all its attributes: the extraordinary manifestations of sunrise and sunset, of sickness and recovery, of birth and death, but surely if He has given us the means with which to remove ourselves from this world so as to go to other parts of the Universe, we can but accept as further manifestations the creation and destructions of stars, the birth and death of atomic particles, the flighting new sound and light waves. I am afraid that the torch of intellectual discovery, the attraction of the unknown, the desire for intellectual self-perfection have left us"(Aga Khan IV,Speech, 1963, Mindanao, Phillipines)

"Islam is fundamentally in its very nature a natural religion. Throughout the Quran God's signs (Ayats) are referred to as the natural phenomenon, the law and order of the universe, the exactitudes and consequences of the relations between natural phenomenon in cause and effect. Over and over, the stars, sun, moon, earthquakes, fruits of the earth and trees are mentioned as the signs of divine power, divine law and divine order"(Aga Khan III, Karachi, Pakistan, April 4th 1952)

"Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they Trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth; (Here) indeed are Signs for the people of intellect"(Noble Quran)

The recent total lunar eclipse(March 2007), seen very clearly in some parts of the world and not so clearly in others, provides for us an informative lesson on the properties and optics of light, an offspring of one of the four forces of nature discovered so far, the Electromagnetic Force. The force carrier for this fundamental force of nature is called a photon, which is a single unit particle of light.

In the scenario of a total lunar eclipse our moon and earth are aligned in such a way that the earth completely obstructs the sun's direct illumination of the moon: the earth is situated between the sun and the moon, completely blocking off the light of the sun shining directly on the moon; theoretically, one should not be able to see the moon at all in a situation like this. Nevertheless, despite this total blocking off, citizens of planet earth still saw the moon illuminated by a reddish-brown colour. This colour and phenomenon are caused by two properties of light: refraction and scattering.

Refraction is the bending of light as it passes from one medium to another: it is light showing the wave aspect of its dual wave-particle nature. In the case of the total lunar eclipse, sunlight, streaming from behind onto the earth, which has totally blocked off the light from directly reaching the moon, nevertheless is refracted by the earth's atmosphere and bends around the edge of the earth to shine on the moon. As the light comes around the earth and through our atmosphere, it is scattered by both air molecules and dust particles present in the atmosphere. However, only the short wavelength components of white light(violet and blue) are scattered away whereas the longer wavelength components of white light(yellow, orange and red) penetrate through the atmosphere and shine onto the other side, which is what gives us our lovely and colourful sunsets(and sunrises) and what gave the moon, during the totality of its eclipse, its reddish-brown colour.

Here are some marvellous pictures of the total lunar eclipse, courtesy of NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day website, as well as an explanation of our glorious sunsets within the context of the scattering and refraction of light:

Tonight's total lunar eclipse as seen at about 10.01pm:

Easy Nash aka easynash

The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)