The monster which attacked Mars
In Hindu myth, Rāhu and Ketu are imagined to represent demons which cause eclipses of the ‘Moon’. In astronomy these points are the nodes of the orbit of the Moon. They were mythologically imagined to be the head (Rāhu) and body (Ketu) of the Rg Vedic Svarbhānu, a demon which tried to attack or eat Indra, as depicted at the top of Figure 1.
Cyclic Catastrophism explains that during each kalpa, when Mars was in its geostationary orbit, above Mt. Kailas, it passed through phases of illumination, similar to the Moon, every day. It approached full illumination around midnight because it orbited close to the ecliptic plane. Due to its great size and proximity to the Earth it would pass, at least partially, through the shadow of the Earth at approximately 11;15 PM as seen in the Aryan lands, what is now the Punjab. At these times the Earth’s atmosphere would refract the red light and scatter the blue, resulting in a partial eclipse with a reddening of a portion of Mars. The serpent aspect was likely due to cloud formations on the limb of the Earth which produced striations and variations in the shadow. When passing through exact alignments Mars would be
completely eclipsed, producing an ouroboros, as shown in Figure 2. Normally Mars would be partially eclipsed. These alignments of the Earth with Mars may also have produced rumblings within the Earth, adding to the notion that this was a monster. Interestingly, the Figure 1 shows the Moon in the background at the approximate scale it was seen in Vedic times, about 1/11 the size of Mars, proving that it was not the Moon that was being attacked, but Mars.
These eclipses were interpreted similarly in most ancient cultures. It was the origin of the Egyptian deity, the Apep Dragon, imagined to attack Horus (Ra) every night. The Egyptian myth gives specific details which verify the origin of the phenomenon, stating that the shadow would first appear on the left side of the planet, by stating that the serpent was hiding in wait in the western mountain,
Bakhu, one of the two imaginary ‘mountains’ thought to support Mars in its stationary position in the sky. These two imaginary mountains in the sky were the inspiration of the shapes of the entrances of all Egyptian temples (Fig. 3). This emphasizes that each culture saw Mars (Indra or Horus) in a unique direction but stationary in the heavens – a phenomenom never experienced in modern times. Also that each saw the eclipses at different times of (their) days.