Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse Myths, Facts and Fiction Behind Nature's Wild Event

No, a solar eclipse will not harm pregnant women, nor is it an event that brings on doom, eclipses aren't dangerous unless you stare at them with unprotected eyes.

Map of Projected Amount of the Eclipse
     "The biggest myth of them all is that eclipses are dangerous."  You would never look directly into the sun, an eclipse is not any different. Looking at the sun is always a bad idea and can create a scar on the retina of your eye and you won't even feel a thing.   "Even if 0.5 per cent of the sun's photosphere is visible, there is still a retinal hazard because the exposed photosphere is still producing the same amount of light as always."   "The only difference is, the scar is the shape of the exposed remaining crescent, instead of a circle."

2009 Eclipse over Indonesia
     This is going to be an annular solar eclipse like the one over Indonesia in 2009. These types of eclipses occur when the moon doesn't quite cover the entire face of the sun. Even though very little sunlight is visible, it's not safe to look at. There is only one time when you can look toward the sun during an eclipse: during totality, when the moon covers the entire disk of the sun.  For the Aug. 21 eclipse, so it's very important that you're equipped with approved solar eclipse glasses if you look at the partial eclipse.   Sunglasses won't cut it, not even those with extra-dark glass used by alpine skiers. They still allow too much sunlight to reach your eye.  Aside from proper eclipse glasses, there is only one other form of eye protection you can use: welder's glasses.   NASA recommends a Welder’s #14 Lenses to look directly at it.  There's been a lot of attention to eye safety during the lead-up to the Aug. 21 eclipse.  Back in the 1990s, there were a lot of people trying to use various things like aluminized Mylar gardening film, and CDs, most of those products aren't safe at all.
     There have been some fears about Unborn children, but each day our bodies are bombarded with solar radiation, like sunburns, which come from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.  The solar eclipse will not harm your baby if you're pregnant.  There are even difficult-to-detect subatomic particles emanating from the sun called neutrinos that start out in the sun's core. But they don't cause us any harm.  During the solar eclipse — total or partial, what's emanating from the sun doesn't change.

Throughout history, solar eclipses have been thought to be a harbinger of doom and associated with bad events.  In 763 BC there was an insurrection in the city of Ashur which happened to coincide with a solar eclipse.  Then there was the death of England's King Henry I in 1133, again during a solar eclipse.  In Greek mythology all the way through medieval history, eclipses of the sun have turned up at fortuitous times and scared the heck out of everybody.  These events were just the same kind of bad things happen all the time, that no one brings up except when there is an event they think that they can blame it on.  Enjoy the solar eclipse, but use some “common sense” when you are enjoying it.   By the way a little bit of rum helps you enjoy the eclipse a lot more, if you enjoy it smartly.