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10 Fascinating Facts Christians Should Know about the Upcoming Solar Eclipse

10 Fascinating Facts Christians Should Know about the Upcoming Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse is set to occur on April 8, 2024, and it will affect much of North America. As we prepare for the big event, several people are unsure what to expect. Being informed and ready will help you to enjoy an experience that only happens once every several years!

What Is an Eclipse?

A solar eclipse is a natural event when the Moon passes at just the right time between the Earth and the Sun in alignment to cast a shadow on a portion of the Earth's surface. The Moon can block part or all of the visible face of the Sun, causing darkness all around. Eclipses do not occur very often, but when they do, they cause some to experience anxiety since it is so out of the norm. Rest assured that it is an entirely natural event of the Heavens above!

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1. Not Everyone Will Be in the Eclipse Area

The entire Earth will not be impacted in the shadow time for this particular eclipse. According to NASA, "the path of the eclipse continues from Mexico, entering the United States in Texas, and traveling through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Small parts of Tennessee and Michigan will also experience the total solar eclipse. The eclipse will enter Canada in Southern Ontario, and continue through Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton. The eclipse will exit continental North America on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, Canada, at 5:16 p.m. NDT."

Areas near these states may also experience some effects. The eclipse will not last long, just a few minutes in total.

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2. What Is the Name of Someone Who Chases Eclipses?

2. What Is the Name of Someone Who Chases Eclipses?

For some, chasing the impacted line of the eclipse is not just an experience but a sport. According to the American Astronomical Society, eclipse chasers, or umbraphiles, are individuals who will do almost anything and travel almost anywhere to see totality. These thrill seekers will set out to "chase" the line of the eclipse in as many areas as possible on April 8.

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3. The Next One Is in 2044

Fifteen total solar eclipses have been recorded in the U.S. in the last 150 years, but the next one will not occur until 2044. The last eclipse on record was in 2017. If you are in the line of impact, it is certainly something not to miss!

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4. You Will Need Special Eye Protection

4. You Will Need Special Eye Protection

If you plan to go outside for the event, you will still need protective eyeglasses. Although it appears that you would be without issue since the Sun is covered, your retina could be damaged by looking directly into the eclipse. Glasses can be obtained online or in many big box stores. Specialty eye providers like Warby Parker and even libraries will have glasses or hand-held solar views that meet the ISO 1231202 standard for eye protection. Be sure to get them before they run out!

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5. Animals May Be Disturbed

Although it is unlikely, some sensitive pets may be impacted in their typical behaviors due to the eclipse. Erica Cartmill, professor of anthropology, animal behavior, and cognitive science at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, shared that they may adopt nighttime habits or anxiety due to the appearance of night being present for a few minutes in the middle of the day. The best way to help them feel safe and sound is to go about their activities as usual and not stir them or rouse them to be afraid!

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James Webb Telescope images,

6. Mental Effects

According to NASA, "There is no evidence that eclipses have any physical effect on humans. However, eclipses have always been capable of producing profound psychological effects. For millennia, virtually every known civilization has interpreted solar eclipses as portents of doom. These have stimulated responses that run the gamut from human sacrifices to feelings of awe and bewilderment. Although there are no direct physical effects involving known forces, the consequences of the induced human psychological states have indeed led to physical effects." 

Eclipses can cause hysteria, confusion, and chaos, but only if we choose to let it have such power. This is a natural event, and it is important for us to remember God is in control! Instead of worrying that this is the end of the world, let us instead thank Him that we are alive in such a historic event! It can be unsettling when something shifts in the natural world, but the eclipse is not a call to fall prey to fear!

Photo credit: ©James Webb Telescope/NASA/Space Telescope Science Institute/Public Domain
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7. What Is the Most Famous Eclipse?

Believe it or not, an eclipse had an impact on causing a war! 

According to NASA, "King Henry I of England, the son of William the Conqueror, died in 1133 AD. This event coincided with a total solar eclipse that lasted over four minutes on August 2. Historian William of Malmesbury recounts this 'hideous darkness agitated the hearts of men.' After King Henry's death, a struggle for the throne threw the kingdom into chaos and civil war." Many scholars have connected that eclipse with the issues for the throne of England at the time. Let us learn from history and not repeat the mistake!

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earth from outer space, cs lewis space trilogy

8. Newton's Laws Help Figure Out When to Expect Eclipses

Much work goes into predicting the next eclipse and Sir Isaac Newton, a Christian, offered a role in just how they calculate it! Astronomers first must work out the mathematics, geometry, and the mechanics of how the Earth and Moon orbit the Sun under the influences of the gravitational fields. From Newton's laws of motion, they mathematically work out the motions of the three bodies in three-dimensional space, considering the fact that these bodies have finite size and are not perfect spheres. From meticulously observation, they then feed into these complex equations the current positions and speeds of the Earth and Moon, and then program the computer to configure these equations forward or backward in time to construct ephemerides of the relative positions of the Moon and Sun as seen from the vantage point of the Earth. Current eclipse forecasts are accurate to less than a minute in time over a span of hundreds of years.

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9. God Made Eclipses!

It is important for us to remember that this is a natural event, one that God planned Himself!

Genesis 1:14-19 reveals, "He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the Earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good." God called this all good, and we must take Him at His Word that it is indeed good. What a gift and benefit to experience such a miraculous experience and to be told beforehand!

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10. Things to Remember Before April 8th

As we approach April 8, you will more than likely hear many opinions that the eclipse will cause chaos, but remember, God is bigger than the eclipse. We have the choice to believe the hysterics of fear, or to grab hold to the truth that we are covered by God above. This is a rare occurrence to marvel in for our Creator's hand made the Earth, the Moon, the Sun, and He made us too! Let us rejoice in the gift to stand in wonder of His splendor and design.

Related: 5 Important Things Christians Should Understand about Solar Eclipses

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Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. Her works have been featured on "The 700 Club Interactive" and Christine Caine's "Propel Women," among several notable outlets. She served as a mentor for young women for several years and enjoys challenging ladies to develop deeper relationships with God and to live fearlessly and authentically. She received her B.A. Degree from Regent University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time in nature, having genuine chats over coffee, and woodworking. Her new book, The Wallflower That Bloomed, will be available everywhere on May 1, 2024. It is set to be featured in Jesus Calling and on The 700 Club on May 28, 2024. @CallyLogan Instagram 

10 Fascinating Facts Christians Should Know about the Upcoming Solar Eclipse