Wars, attacks, protests, disasters. Anything and everything is being predicted as much of Asia counts down the hours to a total solar eclipse. As the sun marches across the sky, a swathe of Japan, China and India will be plunged into utter darkness.The recession notwithstanding, canny businesses are cashing in, selling sunglasses and filters to eager buyers. Total eclipses are rare, and anticipation is mounting. Coming so soon after the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing, it seems out-of-this world events are all the fashion. A note of warning, though, from India, where many cling to ancient beliefs that an eclipse brings bad luck. “Mothers-to-be should take care during this event,” warned astrologer Prasad Dikshit. “I advise them to stay indoors and not to touch any sharp objects. They should chant the sun god’s name during the eclipse as well.” A total eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun, blotting out all light. Temperatures plunge, birds stop singing, and for a moment, life seems to stop.