Myths regarding the upcoming total solar eclipse can appear misleading. Read what a University of Illinois professor of astronomy has to say before watching the eclipse on Monday.
Myth: Total solar eclipses are very rare
Looney says roughly every 18 months there is a total solar eclipse somewhere on Earth. However, the shadow of the moon on Earth is so small, it can be hard to see. The path of Monday’s total eclipse is going to make seeing the eclipse more visible in the U.S. He says to see one, you have to be in the right place at the right time.
On Monday, Chicagoans will be in the right place to see a partial eclipse.
Myth: The sun and moon are the same size
“People don’t realize it. The sun and moon appear to be the same size in the sky, especially during the eclipse,” Looney said.
In reality, the sun is much bigger, but it appears to be the same size because the Sun is much farther away. However, due to the distances between the sun and moon, they appear to be the same size during an eclipse.
The relative distance is what makes the total eclipse possible.
Myth: The sun in yellow
Looney explained the sun is actually white, and we know this from looking at snow. The only reason the sun appears yellow is because as the sun is setting or rising, it goes through atmosphere that takes away the blue color.
During the total eclipse, special viewing glasses can make the run look red, but the sun is in fact white.
Myth: The solar eclipse can be dangerous during pregnancy
According to Looney, it makes no difference, as long as you use eclipse glasses. The sun can be dangerous whether you are pregnant or not.