Eclipse FAQ and Fallacies


OK-So you get that we want you to be safe during the eclipse, but what is this eclipse thing really all about?

Here are some of our favorite facts and fallacies about eclipse.

The remarkable and dramatic cosmic event of an eclipse has happened throughout the history of mankind. During this historical span, our scientific understanding of the solar system has grown enormously. Consequently, older ideas about the cause and impact of a solar eclipse have been replaced by detailed scientific explanations. Even so, many early ideas are remarkably resistant to scientific explanation and understandings.  

Harmful rays from the solar eclipse cause blindness
At the point of total solar eclipse, the moon fully covers the sun.  The corona that is emitted at the time of total eclipse is only electromagnetic radiation, sometimes with a greenish aura.  This radiation is a million times fainter than the light that emits from the sun itself.  There is no light emission from the corona itself that could penetrate space, our dense atmosphere, and cause blindness.  Importantly, if you watch the sun before the total eclipse, you can catch rays of the brilliant solar surface that are powerful enough to cause retinal damage.  Thus it is safest to use special viewing techniques for the eclipse to avoid this critical timing.  

A solar eclipse is a sign of an exceptional galactic event taking place somewhere in time and space
Solar eclipses can be predicted mathematically across thousands of years with great precision.  Sir Isaac Newton observed over 300 years ago that there is a remarkable clockwork regularity to the universe, sometimes punctuated by unpredictable events.  The eclipse that we observe is part of that clockwork regularity.  

The eclipse causes the moon to turn completely black
Although it is difficult to see any light on the moon, careful observation with high-powered telescopes reveals more correctly that there is light on the moon during the eclipse.  This faint light is a reflection of light from the earth back to the surface of the moon, referred to as earthshine.  Because of the brilliance of the corona during the eclipse, the moon appears black.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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