In what could be considered the most catastrophically embarrassing “oops” of the millennium, one magazine is claiming that scientists have miscalculated the solar eclipse and that it’s actually next year.
According to an article in Wyoming Magazine, scientists made a “computational mishap” in their projections which explains why they predicted it would happen one year early. The article goes on to explain that scientists used a complex formula that utilized the “geocentric ephemeris” for the Sun and Moon. Despite all of that, no one noticed the error.
“In layman’s terms, we forgot to carry the one,” said NASA astrophysicist Dr. Theodore Moneta, as reported by Wyoming Magazine.
But if all this sounds fishy to you, then you have good radar for satire/fake news. Snopes, a website dedicated to debunking Internet rumors, has said that the story from Wyoming Magazine is fake.
To prove it, they point out that NASA tweeted about the eclipse on the same day that the fake news article was published, August 17.
Furthermore, Internet searches showed that the only reference to Dr. Theodore Moneta was on that article in Wyoming Magazine. You would think that a NASA astrophysicist who gives media interviews would have more of an online footprint.
Also, given the publicity that the solar eclipse has been getting, any true indication that the prediction might be off would have been picked up by huge national/international news agencies. It wouldn’t just be a little story in a little-known magazine.
So, according to reputable news sources like NASA’s Eclipse website, the solar eclipse will happen on August 21, 2017. This means that the moon will pass between the sun and the earth and block the sun’s visibility. Areas on the path of eclipse totality will see the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, like a ring around a dark circle. Areas outside of this path will see the a partial solar eclipse where the moon will cover a fraction of the sun’s disk.
NASA advises that the only safe way to look at the eclipsed sun in through special solar filters, also known as “eclipse glasses,” or hand-held solar viewers. Looking directly at the sun can permanently damage your eyes. Homemade filters or even extremely dark sunglasses will not protect your vision from long-term sun damage.
Do you plan to watch the solar eclipse? Are you in the path of eclipse totality or partial totality? Let us know if you’re excited about it in the comments below.
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[Featured Image by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images]