So if they happen so frequently, why are they such a big deal? For centuries, humans that experience the Solar Eclipse have recorded a myriad of emotions. Some say they feel like they have witnessed a magical occurrence. Others say the darkness is disconcerting enough to be an adventure. Here’s one eyewitness account that might explain the philosophical draw of the event.
Solar eclipses also have a place in history. They’ve been used to prove Einstein’s theory of relativity and as part of Edmund Halley’s impressive career in astronomy. A solar eclipse even stopped a war once when the fighting sides saw the event as a bad omen and decided to call a truce.
Superstition surrounds the solar eclipse, too. When King Henry I died shortly after a solar eclipse in 1133, a rumor spread that the occurrences were bad for rulers. Most ancient myths around the solar eclipse describe the sun as being eaten. In ancient China, a dragon ate it, in Vietnam it was a giant frog, and one native North American tribe claimed it was a bear.
Explaining the unexplainable with stories and myths is a human tradition that transcends cultures. While science has advanced and offered explanations to celestial events, the allure of magic persists. The solar eclipse experience is frequent for the earth, but rare enough for the earth’s inhabitants to be exciting.
Other things that are as rare as a solar eclipse
While the solar eclipse happens between two and five times annually, this is the first one to be visible in North America since 1979. The 70 mile band of totality in 1979 stretched across the east coast. Charleston, Kingstree, and Florence got full views as did Savannah, Georgia, and Norfolk, Virginia.
This year’s eclipse will be visible across a the nation including Salem, Orgeon, Lincoln, Nebraska, Kansas City, Missouri, Nashville, Tennessee and various South Carolina towns from the Upstate to the coast. The next solar eclipse we’ll see from South Carolina will be in April of 2024 but South Carolina will not be in the shadow path at all.
It takes 375 years for a solar eclipse to occur again in the same location. So this is likely the only one we’ll experience without traveling to see it.
Because bloggers love lists, we’re going to name other things that are as rare.
- Once in a Lifetime Rare
- Donate a kidney
- Get chicken pox
- See Halley’s Comet
- A new pope while the old pope is still alive (2013)
Once every 375 years rare
- Killer volcanic eruptions like Krakatoa (1883) and Vesuvius (79 A.D.)
- Anniversaries like Harvard (2011) and Montreal (2017)
Twice a year rare
- Daylight Savings
- Equinox (23 March, 23 September)
- Solstice (21 June, 21 December)
Guest Blogger: Dr. Kasie Whitner, Clemson Road Creative, LLC