Total Solar Eclipses: A Look At Myths About Radiation, Pregnancy, More

The total solar eclipse is set to occur on April 8, 2024.

Total Solar Eclipses: A Look At Myths About Radiation, Pregnancy, More
New Delhi:

Get ready for one of the year's most anticipated celestial events - the upcoming total solar eclipse. This event is set to occur on April 8 and will be visible from North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Unfortunately, it will not be visible from India or other parts of Asia. But you can still catch the action through live streams provided by NASA and the McDonald Observatory. 

Solar eclipses have fascinated people throughout history, sparking countless myths and legends.

Here are some myths and misconceptions associated with the Solar eclipse, according to NASA.

1. Myth: Total solar eclipses produce harmful rays that can cause blindness.

Reality: During a total solar eclipse, the sun's corona emits only electromagnetic radiation, which is harmless. However, looking at the sun directly before totality can cause retinal damage.

2. Myth: Pregnant women should not watch an eclipse because it can harm the baby.

Reality: Electromagnetic radiation from the eclipse is safe, and there is no evidence to suggest it poses a risk to unborn babies.

3. Myth: A total solar eclipse will disrupt power supply.

Reality: With modern electricity grids and the rise of renewable energy, experts assure that the brief and predictable nature of eclipses poses no threat to power systems. Power grids can easily handle temporary reductions in solar generation during eclipses without any impact on reliability.

4. Myth: Flowers planted during an eclipse will have bright colours.

Reality: There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Plants respond to eclipses much like other natural phenomena, such as changes in temperature and light. Any observed changes in plant behaviour are likely due to these factors rather than the eclipse itself.

5. Myth: Regular sunglasses can be used to view a total solar eclipse.

Reality: Regular sunglasses do not provide sufficient eye protection during a total solar eclipse as they do not block enough sunlight to prevent eye damage. Eclipse glasses, which block 99.9999% of sunlight, are recommended for safe viewing. Welder's glasses with a No. 14 shade are also suitable for eclipse viewing, as suggested by NASA.

6. Myth: Eclipses will poison food prepared during the event.

Reality: This is superstition. There is no radiation produced during an eclipse that would harm food. 

7. Myth: Eclipses are considered as bad omens.

Reality: Confirmation bias often leads people to associate eclipses with negative events, but there is no scientific basis for this belief.

8. Myth: Total solar eclipses do not occur at Earth's poles.

Reality: Total solar eclipses can and do occur at both the North and South Poles, just like any other location on Earth.

9. Myth: The moon turns completely black during a total solar eclipse.

Reality: The moon's surface is dimly illuminated by the light of the earth during a total solar eclipse, giving it a pale glow.

10. Myth: The corona of the sun has always been observed during a total solar eclipse.

Reality: Historical records show that descriptions of the sun's corona during eclipses were not always documented, which could mean variability over time.

11. Myth: Solar eclipses foretell major life changes.

Reality: There is no scientific evidence linking solar eclipses to future events in people's lives.

12. Myth: Solar eclipses are signs of exceptional celestial events.

Reality: Solar eclipses are predictable events that occur due to the regular movement of celestial bodies.

13. Myth: Solar eclipses on or after your birthday signify impending bad health.

Reality: This belief lacks scientific evidence and is based on superstition rather than science.