Local astronomers and animal experts dispel myths as solar eclipse nears

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Despite the scientific explanations which accompany the celestial event, some eclipse myths regarding animals and false effects on the human body have endured. (KFSN)

Solar eclipses struck fear into many ancient civilizations. Despite the scientific explanations which accompany the celestial event, some eclipse myths have endured.

If the birds stop chirping during the solar eclipse, it will probably be because it will be a bit too dark. Fresno Chaffee Zoo Chief Operating Officer Amos Morris says the eclipse won't cause any changes in animal behavior, but workers will remind visitors not to look directly at the sun.

"Just the awareness that something exciting is gonna happen in our world," Amos explained. "But as far as getting animals prepped or anything like that, not at this time, no."

The eclipse has been a valuable teaching tool for astronomy students at Fresno City College. When students see the moon blot out the sun, some might think they're the same size. Dillon Trelawny tells them it's a matter of perspective.

"If you hold the basketball up at an arm's distance, you can adjust the distance of this ball such that the entire ball covers all of that basketball and it appears to be the same size," the professor explained.

Trelawny says he's heard eclipse myths over the years, including some which involve physical change.

"You might feel the difference like it will have an effect on your body. Wounds may heal faster," he said, explaining one of the myths.

Several customers at The Brass Unicorn Store are on their way to Oregon to catch a glimpse of the total eclipse. Many are buying sage and incense and will use the eclipse to mark a new chapter in their lives.

"Starting new journeys," owner Kathryn Barile said. "So, it's really a time for purification and rebirth, renewal, regeneration."

Barile calls the eclipse symbolic, saying the disruption of the sun's energy leads to a fresh start. Some pet owners will be looking out for behavioral changes in their pets.

Others figure the family dog will just use the time to sleep a little longer.

Related Topics:
sciencesciencesolar eclipsefresnoFresno
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