There are solar eclipse myths, from radiation to food poisoning

Is the Moon Radiation Dark or Black? A Realist’s View on Solar Radiation, as Produced by the Sun’s Nuclear Fusion

In reality, a solar eclipse brings a temporary sharp drop in solar radiation — an event that ham radio operators have been eagerly anticipating for months, with competitions and experiments looking to fill the Earth’s suddenly radiation-free ionosphere with radio signals.

Electromagnetic radiation from the sun’s corona wont harm you during totality. In fact, the only time it’s safe to look at the sun without eye protection, as the sun’s brightness is fully obscured by the moon and its corona is visible.

Another idea is concerned about radiation. To put people’s mind at ease, NASA employs a sort of “you’re already soaking in it” example, citing the neutrino particles produced by the sun’s nuclear fusion:

“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 gives a hypothetical: What if some bad potato salad makes people sick during an eclipse? The agency notes that food poisoning is very common and shouldn’t be blamed on a rare event.

Other myths — such as the idea that the moon turns black during an eclipse, or that the Earth’s two poles don’t see eclipses — are simply false, the agency says.

How an Aboriginal God Eats the Sun, but Whence He Gets His Cosmic Power? A Tale of Rahu and Ketu

People in totality can expect to feel a sudden drop in temperature, for instance. Stars and planets become visible in the middle of the day, and humans can experience a range of odd visual effects — from the sharpness of shadows to the movement of “shadow bands” and a change in how we perceive color.

There is a story about a solar eclipse for the Ojibwe and other Indigenous peoples in the Great Lakes region.

The animals in folktales try to eat the sun or moon. In Hindu mythology, a serpent god, Rahu Ketu, wanted to eat the sun — but then his head was cut off. That created two new entities, Rahu and Ketu, according to the Folklife Today blog from the Library of Congress.

People are asking about things that were not expected in North America for the total eclipse.

Monday’s total solar eclipse begins over Mexico’s Pacific Coast at around 11:07 a.m. Moving through Texas and up to Maine, it is time to leave the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland.

Folklife Today said that in many cultures humans end eclipses by making noise and playing drums and gongs to stop the eclipse spirit from taking the sun.

If someone does damage to their eyes while watching an eclipse, that damage usually shows up as a blurry spot in the field of vision within a day or two. Sometimes permanent damage can occur if the problem fixes itself.

Many people went to the emergency rooms worried that they had damaged their eyes. Many complained of watery eyes or blurred vision, but in most cases they were fine, according to Avnish Deobhakta an ophthalmologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, one of the largest eye hospitals in the nation.

The Bright Ball of Light in Deobhakta’s Space-Time: An Eye Clinic in New York for Free Eye Checks after the Eclipse

“It’s so bright that we’re not actually capable of looking at it without either tearing or sort of not really feeling comfortable staring at this ball of light,” Deobhakta says.

There is an eye clinic in New York that will offer free eye checks after the eclipse.

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