It is that time of the year when the moon moves between the Sun and Earth, casting a shadow in some areas on our planet by fully or partially blocking the sun’s light in the southern hemisphere to cause a celestial event that is known as a solar eclipse or surya grahan. While Antarctica will be the only place on Earth to experience a full solar eclipse on Saturday i.e. December 4, given that the sun, moon and our planet will fall in a direct line above it, other countries in the northern hemisphere and people in India can see it via a livestream by NASA.
On the other hand, a partial solar eclipse will be visible for people living in Saint Helena, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, South Georgia and Sandwich Islands, Crozet Islands, Falkland Islands, Chile, New Zealand and Australia. Ahead of the solar eclipse before, during and after sunrise or sunset on December 4, NASA scientists point out 8 myths and facts about surya grahan.
1. Solar eclipses six months after your birthday, or on your birthday, are a sign of impending bad health.
According to NASA, “This is a common belief among astrologers, and once again is only supported by confirmation bias. There is no physical relationship between a total solar eclipse and your health, any more than there is a relationship between your health and a new moon. Among a random sample of people, you may find such correlations from time to time but they are outnumbered by all the other occasions during which your health was excellent.”
2. Total solar eclipses produce harmful rays that can cause blindness.
As per the scientists at NASA, “During a total solar eclipse when the disk of the moon fully covers the sun, the brilliant corona emits only electromagnetic radiation, though sometimes with a greenish hue. Scientists have studied this radiation for centuries. Being a million times fainter than the light from the sun itself, there is nothing in the coronal light that could cross 150 million kilometers of space ,penetrate our dense atmosphere, and cause blindness. However, if you watched the sun before totality, you will catch a glimpse of the brilliant solar surface and this can cause retinal damage, though the typical human instinctual response is to quickly look away before any severe damage has actually occurred.”
3. Solar eclipses are a sign of an exceptional celestial event taking place in time and space.
“Actually, because they can be mathematically predicted across thousands of years, solar eclipses are a re-affirmation that there is a sublime clock-work regularity to the universe as Sir Isaac Newton admired over 300 years ago,” says NASA.
4. If you are pregnant you should not watch an eclipse because it can harm your baby
“This is related to the previous false idea that harmful radiations are emitted during a total solar eclipse. Although the electromagnetic radiation from the corona, seen as light, is perfectly safe, there is another form of radiation that travels to Earth from the sun. Deep in the solar interior where nuclear fusion takes place to light the sun, particles called neutrinos are born, and zip unimpeded out of the sun and into space. They also pass through the solid body of the moon during the eclipse and a second or so later reach Earth and pass through it too! Every second, your body is pelted by trillions of these neutrinos no matter if the sun is above or below the horizon. The only consequence is that every few minutes a few atoms in your body are transmuted into a different isotope by absorbing a neutrino. This is an entirely harmless effect and would not harm you, or if you are pregnant, the developing fetus,” NASA reveals.
5. Solar Eclipses foretell major life changes and events about to happen
As per NASA, “This is a common interpretation found in astrological forecasts, which are themselves based upon coincidences and non-scientific beliefs in how celestial events control human behavior. A common qualification is that if the eclipse doesn’t foretell a change in your life it may foretell a change in that of your friends. This is a logically-flawed used of confirmation bias in which you prove a cause-and-effect relationship by ignoring failures and only consider successful forecasts. There is nothing other than human psychology that connects eclipses with future events in your life.”
6. Eclipses will poison any food that is prepared during the event.
NASA scientists debunk the myth saying, “Related to the false idea of harmful solar rays is that during a total solar eclipse, some kind of radiation is produced that will harm your food. If that were the case, the same radiations would harm the food in your pantry, or crops in the field. The basic idea is that total solar eclipses are terrifying and their ghostly green coronae look frightening, so it is natural to want to make up fearful stories about them and look for coincidences among events around you. If someone is accidentally food-poisoned with potato salad during an eclipse, some might argue that the event was related to the eclipse itself even though hundreds of other people at the same location were not at all affected.”
7. Eclipses are harbingers of something very bad about to happen.
“A classic case of what psychologists call Confirmation Bias is that we tend to remember all the occasions when two things happened together, but forget all of the other times when they did not. This gives us a biased view of causes and effects that we remember easily, because the human brain is predisposed to looking for, and remembering, patterns that can be used as survival rules-of-thumb. Total solar eclipses are not often recorded in the historical record, but they do tend to be recorded when they coincide with other historical events. For example in 763 B.C., early Assyrian records mention an eclipse in the same passage as an insurrection in the city of Ashur, now known as Qal’at Sherqat in Iraq, suggesting that the ancient people linked the two in their minds. Or when King Henry I of England, the son of William the Conqueror, died in A.D. 1133, the event coincided with a total solar eclipse. With a little work you can also find numerous cases when something good happened!” NASA asserts.
8. The moon turns completely black during a total solar eclipse.
NASA scientists point out, “Although it is difficult to see the New Moon and check out this idea, we don’t actually have to make this difficult observation. Look at the first quarter moon and you will discover that the dark lunar surface beyond the crescent is weakly illuminated. This is because, as viewed from the moon, Earth is very bright in the sky and its weak light is enough to turn the lunar surface a pale milky white. This is called earthshine, and the same thing applies during a total solar eclipse. Most of Earth’s surface is actually in broad daylight off the path of totality, and from the moon it would be in full phase, shining down on the lunar surface at its brightest. So, during a total solar eclipse, the lunar surface will be dimly seen due to earthshine, surrounded by the much more brilliant corona of the sun!”
Solar eclipse 2021 : NASA scientists point out 8 myths, facts about surya grahan