Another eclipse of the year 2020, that is third out of the total 6 eclipses will occur on June 21, 2020. Though these phenomena are natural and the speciality is only because of celestial bodies’ particular positions in space, people are afraid and scared due to myths. Rare coincidences are remembered as a bad memory and related to astronomical events as per psychological experts. Let’s reveal known myths and unknown facts about it. 

How Solar Eclipse Occurs?

The moon keeps orbiting around the earth, and the earth around the sun. The elliptical orbit coordinates keep changing every time. While orbiting, the moon comes exactly in between the earth and the sun, interrupting sun rays to reach directly to the earth. Depending on the location of the moon, either it completely covers the sun or forms a ring.

The moon is 400 times smaller than the sun, but also 400 times closer to the earth. Thus, it’s relative size looks similar to the sun. If the moon is closest in the orbit to the earth, then it’s relative size is smaller than the sun, and it can’t completely cover it, thus we see the ring on the solar eclipse. This type of eclipse is called an ‘annular solar eclipse’. But, when the moon is far in the orbit, it’s relative size appears greater than the sun and it completely covers it. As sun rays are completely blocked, sudden darkness in the earth sky occurs, calling it ‘total solar eclipse’. The sun appears in the sky once the moon passes through it.

Myths about Solar Eclipse:

Solar eclipses can cause blindness due to its harmful rays

The solar surface emits huge amounts of energy in terms of electromagnetic and ultraviolet (UV) radiations. It is always dangerous to look at the sun with the naked eye, and not only during the eclipse. When the moon obscures the sun and forms a ring during the total solar eclipse, the solar surface is not directly visible and it is not harmful to eyes to look at it. But, if you see the brilliant solar surface before totality, eyes will catch the glimpse of the bright light and it can damage the retina of the eye. This can also result in blindness. 

It is always advised to use protective lenses while looking at the sun and not limited to eclipse events. 

Pregnant women should not watch an eclipse as it can harm their baby

There is a misconception that eclipse emits harmful radiations. In reality, the electromagnetic and UV light always reaches and passes through the earth. The nuclear fusion happening at the core lights the sun and particles called neutrinos are emitted into space. The trillions of these particles are passing every second through the earth and it is independent of the sun’s location with respect to the earth. This process is entirely harmless, and so the solar eclipse! So, it is not harmful to pregnant women too!   

Eclipses poison any food prepared during the event

Due to myths regarding harmful radiations produced during a solar eclipse, it is said that the food prepared during that time is poisoned. If that is true then the crops in the agricultural fields, food in your pantry may also get affected, but that is not the case. The only relevance to this is greenish and terrifying-looking coronae formed during a solar eclipse. This phenomenon does not emit any harmful radiation and so does not harm any food, either prepared or not or in the fields.

Eclipses are signs of very bad about to happen

Some coincidences that happened in the past are interlinked, mostly in astrology. The rare bad experiences are remembered and believed to be bad. This is the only sign of considering eclipses as signs of very bad happenings in near future. This biased perspective towards eclipses can be flashed out by finding good things happened during these times! 

No total solar eclipses at Earth’s North or South Poles

Astronomically, north or south poles on the earth are not unique. The solar eclipse can be seen on both of these poles. The last solar eclipse on the north pole was on March 20, 2015; whereas on the south pole on November 23, 2003. 

The moon turns completely black during a total solar eclipse

The moon is milky white due to earthshine. During a solar eclipse, the earth is shining brightly and the moon appears dim surrounded by bright corona.  

Solar Eclipses are sign of major life changes and events in near future

The major coincidences and non-scientific beliefs relating to celestial phenomena are very common to control human behaviour. The psychological evidence of biased beliefs is the only proof of these misconceptions, but there is no scientific proof or evidence. 

Solar eclipses are a sign of an exceptional celestial event taking place in time and space

Eclipses can be calculated for thousands of years further; that means their occurrence can be re-affirmed with calculations. As these are not unpredictable, they are not exceptional. 

Solar eclipses six months after your birthday, or on your birthday, are a sign of impending bad health

There is no physical relationship between a total solar eclipse and your health. The coincidences are spread as the reason behind mishappenings in our life. There is nothing to entertain this misconception than human’s beliefs on these myths.

References:

  1. https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-misconceptions
  2. http://knownunknown.in/2020/03/22/2020-the-year-of-6-eclipses/
  3. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/list.html
  4. https://www.arpansa.gov.au/understanding-radiation/radiation-sources/more-radiation-sources/solar-eclipse

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