Eclipse Sickness: Can Sun's cosmic coffee break mess with minds and bodies? Exploring viral claims - Hindustan Times
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Eclipse Sickness: Can Sun's cosmic coffee break mess with minds and bodies? Exploring viral claims

ByAditi Srivastava
Apr 08, 2024 01:50 PM IST

Social media buzz around 'eclipse sickness' as 2024 Total Solar Eclipse nears, with reports of odd symptoms sparking discussion and caution from experts.

As the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse casts its long shadow, whispers of a strange phenomenon called "eclipse sickness" are hitting social media chatterboxes. Experiencing strange symptoms like headaches, insomnia, or mood swings? But before you blame the eclipse for that nagging cough or sudden case of the blues, let's explore what’s causing these unusual feelings. Here's a closer look at why experts are urging us to take these viral claims with a grain of moon dust.

Partial solar eclipse of 2022: Interesting myths and facts about surya grahan (Twitter/OneLuckyGirl_28)
Partial solar eclipse of 2022: Interesting myths and facts about surya grahan (Twitter/OneLuckyGirl_28)

What is ‘Eclipse Sickness’?

The Total Eclipse is approaching. On Monday, parts of the US and UK will be plunged into darkness. For stargazers, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Adventure lovers won't want to miss it either. However, some people on social media have reported feeling anxious or experiencing other strange sensations, which some are attributing to an “eclipse sickness” caused by the celestial event.

Also read: Total solar eclipse 2024 forecast: Clear skies in Canada, Maine! Clouds loom over Texas and Cleveland

A user wrote, "A lot of people talking about the Total Solar Eclipse and Full moon... but us anyone else actually FEELING it?... This just has me wiped out feeling weird ". Another chimed in, “Any of u also experiencing headache bc of the solar eclipse??" and so on.

Can Solar Eclipse cause sickness?

The soon-to-be-observed total eclipse promises to be a celestial showstopper, a mere blip in the sky’s magnifying glass. And yet, many say they feel…unsettled.? Those whose areas are falling in the path of totality believe they are lucky. It’s hard to fathom, considering we’ve been watching an eclipse since cave-dwellers scrawled tales on cave walls back in the ancient times. In those days, we looked at them with awe, not with telescopes. Now, we look to the heavens to celebrate these celestial dances.

First off, don’t stress. NASA has already refuted the myth of “eclipse sickness.” It’s more likely to do with excitement. Ahead of Total Eclipse taking place on April 8, the space organisation even issued a statement addressing the issue. "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.”

NASA added, “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.”

While it is broadly believed that these celestial occurrences have some physical impact on humans and even pets, there is still no definitive explanation. Some are real, while others are superstitious.

How Solar Eclipse affects the human body

True, eclipses do disrupt our usual light patterns, our normal circadian rhythms are disrupted. This can cause temporary sleep disruption for a few hours.

Also read: Scary video shows Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 engine ripping apart during takeoff

Eclipses have long been associated with bad omen, and these superstitions can persist. However, there is no scientific proof that an eclipse causes stress or anxiety.

This is a real danger. Exposure to the sun, including during a solar eclipse, can lead to permanent damage to the eyes. Therefore, it is important to always use safe methods of viewing, such as eclipse glasses.

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