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Eclipse myths: Will the upcoming eclipse poison food, hurt unborn baby? Short answer - no

Eclipse

Monday will bring an amazing show as the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, plunging cities across a large swath of the U.S. into total darkness.

It’s something that won’t happen for another 20 years and is so rare that there are myths surrounding solar eclipses.

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In preparation for the total eclipse in 2017, NASA combed through all the myths relating to the occurrence, explaining that eclipses happened before the dawn of civilization, but what has changed is what we know about the physical world and the void of space.

Here are some of the myths that NASA discounted.

Myth: If you’re pregnant you should not watch the eclipse, it could hurt the baby.

An eclipse will not affect your baby while it is in the womb. People were worried about the radiation that will be produced by the eclipse. The thing is, it is the same radiation that comes from the sun all the time.

Myth: Eclipses will poison food

Again, this goes back to the rays that are produced by the sun. Food doesn’t go bad when exposed to sunlight, the won’t go bad during an eclipse. But in some parts of India that belief still sticks around with people fasting during an eclipse to prevent getting poisoned or that the food would be unpure, according to Time and Date.

Myth: Eclipses predict something bad will happen

While it may seem that something will go wrong during an eclipse, it isn’t actually caused by the eclipse. NASA explained that it was a case of confirmation bias, meaning that people remember occurrences when two separate things happen at the same time, but neglect to realize that they have happened before but at separate times.

An example that NASA gave was when King Henry I died in A.D. 1133 during a total solar eclipse. Another example was there was an insurrection in Ashur during an eclipse.

Myth: Eclipses predict life changes

People look for coincidences when it comes to celestial events. Again this is confirmation bias as there is no scientific connection between an eclipse and something bad (or good) happening. An eclipse doesn’t cause an event like that, NASA explained. It’s all a case of human psychology.

Myth: Eclipses can affect someone’s health depending on when they were born

The idea that an eclipse that happened either on your birthday or within six months can affect your health is false. NASA said there may be correlations - meaning that they happened at the same time once in a while - but when looking at someone’s total lifespan there were times that health was better during the same type of event.

Myth: Giant frog or wolves and the sun?

According to Time and Date website, there had been a belief in Vietnam that a giant frog was eating the sun during an eclipse. The Norse people thought it was wolves instead that ate the sun. The wolves were created by Loki (not Tom Hiddleston), according to the Almanac.

While in China, it was a giant celestial dragon that had to have a sun snack. In Korea, it was the belief that dogs not wolves that stole the sun.

All of these beliefs that have animals or even demons trying to take the sun lead to people banging pots or making other loud noises during the eclipse to scare them away, according to the website.

Myth: Angry gods, angry sun

In ancient Greece, it was believed that angry gods caused an eclipse and that it was the start of disasters. A similar belief held by the Tewa tribe in New Mexico thought the sun itself was angry and that “he” went home to the underworld.

Inuits believed that the sun goddess Malina was angry with the moon god, and her brother, Anningan and that the eclipse happened when Anningan caught his sister.

Colombian natives used to shout to the sky promising to do hard work and life right, sometimes working on projects during the eclipse, according to the Almanac.

Myth: Relight the sun

The Chippewa would shoot flaming arrows into the sky to relight the orb, while Peruvian tribes shot arrows to scare whatever had attacked the sun, according to the Almanac.


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