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Will the solar eclipse cause any damage? A Mexican astronomer weighs in

2024-04-09T15:16:22+00:00
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Solar eclipse effects (Photo: Shutterstock)
  • There are questions about negative solar eclipse effects.
  • An expert explains what could happen.
  • Fears are unfounded.

While many are excited about April 8, others in the U.S. are worried about possible negative solar eclipse effects.

To quell all these doubts, it’s best to check with an expert.

An astronomer from the Ibero-American University Lorena Arias gave an interview to EFE about what an eclipse can do.

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The only solar eclipse effects will be emotional

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PHOTO: The Associated Press

According to astronomer Lorena Arias, the total solar eclipse that Mexico, the U.S. and Canada will experience on Monday will cause any adverse effects.

In an interview with the EFE news agency, she stressed that the only effect will be only the emotional factor «of experiencing the phenomenon.»

«I am convinced that, for human beings, the only effect is emotional, in the sense of experiencing this phenomenon and getting excited,» she said.

Although the eclipse can be seen throughout North America, Mexico is considered the best country for viewing according to the Instituto de Geofísica (IGEF) of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).

There are ancient beliefs about eclipses

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The Mexican astronomer states where people can see the total eclipse are Coahuila, Durango and Sinaloa. All three are in the northern part of Mexico.

Dr. Arias points out there are ancestral indigenous beliefs surrounding eclipses, such as that a deity bit the sun.

However these beliefs are from a time when «there was not enough knowledge» about the universe.

«Of course, if it gets dark for a few minutes during the day, any explanation you want to find will not be enough,» she said.

Beliefs and fears surrounding solar eclipse effects

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«This leads, obviously, to beliefs and fears,» Lorena Arias says.

Other living beings do not have the same fears because «they do not know that an eclipse is occurring.»

She says for animals there are some solar eclipse effects due to the sudden darkening of the skies.

«For them, it’s getting dark and it’s time to do what we do at night, sleep or whatever they want,» she noted.

Solar eclipse effects: Safety is important

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The expert from the Department of Physics and Mathematics of the Universidad Iberoamericana explains that there are two ways to safely observe the eclipse, which will last about four minutes.

The safest is the indirect one, which consists of cutting a circle out of cardboard, «passing the light through the hole» and projecting the image of the sun onto «a kind of screen.»

«Without a doubt, it is more beautiful to observe a direct image,» she acknowledges, which is why it is necessary to use glasses with a special filter.

That filter, she explained, must be “that blocks most of the light” and that complies with ISO 12312-2 certification.

When will the next eclipse be?

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In addition, Arias said that «electronic eyes are also at risk,» which means that, if you want to take photographs of the eclipse, you must protect the lens with that same special filter.

A total solar eclipse like Monday’s will not happen again until March 30, 2052.

«For an inhabitant of a specific place on Earth, the interval between eclipses can be decades, but it can be centuries (also),» the doctor points out.

We will be able to see a partial solar eclipse in Mexico on January 26, 2028

The internet will play an essential role

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What are solar eclipse effects? / PHOTO: The Associated Press

The last eclipse like the one that occurred on Monday was in 1991.

Unlike back then, the internet now plays an essential role.

«We have more dissemination with social media, more people find out and the expectation is greater,» said Dr. Arias.

«Fortunately, they help us with information because it is very dangerous to look at the sun directly with or without an eclipse,» she concluded.

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