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World's Scientists Predict "Eclipse" Event;
American Leaders Urge Further Study and Discussion

20 August 2017

AP - On Sunday, with an air of confidence reminiscent of their controversial "climate change" allegations, the world's scientists were apparently nearly unanimous in predicting a strange astrophysical event, during which they outrageously claimed portions of the Earth's population will experience partial, or even nearly total, darkness in the middle of the day. During this event, which scientists dubbed a "solar eclipse," astronomers and astrophysicists explained that the moon will pass directly between the Earth and the sun from the vantage point of some observers in North America and around the world, temporarily blocking, or "occulting" the sun's light.

eclipse

Image credit: NASA. Photograph purportedly showing the "shadow of the moon" falling on a portion of the Earth during a "total solar eclipse" that scientists say occurred in 2006. Scientists claim the photograph showing the "shadow" was captured by a camera on a "space station," populated by "astronauts," that has been orbiting the Earth since 1998. On the strength of previous experiences like this, as well as "mathematical calculations" not well understood by lay people, scientists predicted a similar event will occur on August 21, 2017.

"It's a sort of weird and very cool phenomenon, but actually not as rare as many people think," said University of California - Berkeley astrophysicist, Rhonda Rokitpantz, Ph.D. "In fact, a solar eclipse is visible somewhere on the Earth's surface about once every 18 months. A total solar eclipse only occurs at a given location on the Earth about once every 360 years, though, so if you get a chance you should definitely check it out. You'll be able to see stars in the middle of the day!"

As if these outlandish claims weren't enough, scientists further claimed the ability to forecast exactly when this event will occur at any given point on the Earth. Indeed, NASA, an American organization dedicated to space and earth sciences, was found to have wantonly expended American taxpayer money on an entire webpage dedicated to the phenomenon and alleged upcoming event including, among other content, tables of calculated locations and times of "solar eclipses" as far into the future as the year 2100.

Many people and organizations worldwide, particularly in Europe, appeared to be taking the world's scientists' astrophysical forecasts at face value. A company based in Stavanger, Norway, timeanddate.com, was displaying on its website highly specific predictions. For example, a search on "Hudson, Wisconsin" on that website alleged the 2017 "solar eclipse" would commence at precisely 11:44 am on Monday, August 21, reaching maximum coverage of the sun at 1:07 pm and ending at 2:29 pm.

When questioned about how they could possibly have any confidence in such specific predictions, scientists widely referred to astronomical studies that have occurred since a mathematician and astronomer named Nicolaus Copernicus, a European, first proposed in the 1500's that the Earth orbits the sun.

"The work of Copernicus was a breakthrough," said NASA astronomer Morgan Meteorlicker. "It enabled the correct understanding of astronomical observations over the centuries since, and the development of mathematical equations that now enable us to predict a variety of astrophysical phenomena, like eclipses, with great accuracy."

It was difficult to find scientists dissenting from the sensational view that darkness will occur in the afternoon next Monday in many American cities. In fact, even scientists in very different disciplines appeared to accept the claims with a high degree of confidence, citing a "scientific method" evidently discussed frequently in scientific circles. Scientists widely professed an almost religious faith in this "scientific method," by which they claimed observations by scientists are reviewed by rival experts prior to detailed publication in "peer reviewed journals," whereupon researchers in other disciplines perform related experiments to verify consistency with the published research, resulting in the correction of errors and emergent "scientific theories" widely held as revealed truths about the natural world.

Mayo Clinic neurologist Georgina Graymattur, a scientist not expert in astronomy, explained, "I'm not an expert in astro-anything, but astronomers have been applying the scientific method to this since Copernicus and publishing their work in peer reviewed journals like Science and Nature. They have a long history of making accurate predictions with those equations of theirs. Heck, they’ve successfully landed remote control cars on Mars! At this point, if NASA says there's going to be a solar eclipse next Monday, I'd say you can take that to the bank."

Indeed, astronomers and scientists specializing in ophthalmology were teaming up on Friday to warn of potential health hazards arising from the impending astrophysical "eclipse" phenomenon.

"You do need to take care not to look directly at the occulted sun during the solar eclipse," said ophthalmologist Bartholomew Beedyiyes. "The sun appears less bright during an eclipse, which prevents the normally unconscious things, like squinting, that you usually do to protect your eyes from the sun's UV radiation. Because of that, your eye won't properly protect its delicate retina when you look at an eclipse, and you could sustain permanent eye damage."

For those interested in viewing the upcoming “eclipse,” scientists recommended wearing protective eye wear, so-called "eclipse glasses," which were being offered for sale by many companies.

Many American leaders were more circumspect about the scientists' alarmist claims. President Donald Tweety took to social media early Monday morning, tweeting, "This is obviously yet another Chinese hoax aimed at tricking middle class Americans into spending their hard-earned wages on ridiculous Chinese-manufactured cardboard glasses."

EPA administrator Scott Prune lent his considerable technical authority to the argument, stating in a press conference, "I think that measuring with precision the motions of celestial bodies is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact of the moon on the sun's shininess, so no, I would not agree that we are certain to experience darkness during the day next Monday." Prune then argued for a "Red Team/Blue Team" process to discuss the merits of the astrophysical claims, over the objections of scientists who alleged that proposal, in fact, precisely described their obscure "scientific method."

A Reuters poll revealed that a majority of Americans believed there was something to the scientists' claims, though a minority of those polled believed it was likely to impact them directly. Some strenuously questioned the elitist scientists' claims.

"The moon and the sun both shine, so it seems to me that if they teamed up they would only shine brighter together," said Ronald Randumpurson of Sundusky, OH. This commonsense argument, apparently highlighting an obvious fact the egghead scientists had missed despite their years of college and self-important faith in complicated "equations," cast substantial doubt about the scientists' claims for many observers.

A web search on the issue revealed many dissenting views as well. Willard Wannabegeek, a self-described entrepreneur and blogger, wrote on his blog, "The moon has a diameter of only 2,159 miles, while the sun has a diameter of 864,576 miles. Since the area of a disc is proportional to the square of its diameter, this means the frontal area of the sun is 160,362 times that of the moon. It's simply not mathematically possible for a disc to obscure another disc that is over 160,000 times larger." This alternative explanation, involving numbers, mathematics, and technical language, was as convincing to many as the assertions of the "mainstream scientists."

Still other Americans, including lawmakers, emphasized their inability to fully evaluate the claims. Senator Dirk Dumbutt (R-WI), said in a press interview, "Look, I'm not an astrophysicist, so I can't comment on whether it's possible for the moon to pass in front of the sun, and I can't recommend buying so-called eclipse glasses. The fact that the government, in which I have a leadership role, employs a multitude of expert scientists to study this stuff surprisingly turns out to be of no use to me in evaluating the issue one way or the other."

Many lay people seemed to echo Senator Dumbutt's views questioning the knowledge of so-called "experts." "I know the Earth experiences frequent periods of darkness," explained Athens, Georgia resident, Kenny Kluliss, "but I can't say for sure the cause or whether the sun or moon is mainly responsible. It could just as well be primarily the luminosity of the blessed sap, as others have purported. Or, it could be that the UN just wants to control the glasses I put on my face."

Our reporters asked NOAA climatologist, Doreen Damitshot, if the scientists' sensational claims about the upcoming "eclipse" were analogous to their similarly outrageous assertions regarding "anthropogenic global warming."

"Well yes," she said, "that issue is similar in that scientists in a variety of disciplines have been studying it for a long time and have reached a compelling consensus that it's something we should be paying attention to and doing something about."

By and large, while largely sympathetic to the scientists' point of view, Americans appeared to be taking a wait-and-see attitude with respect to the controversy. President Tweety offered one suggestion: "If you're worried about the sun hurting your eyes, you'll be safe from the sun mining coal. I love coal miners!"


HesterJonathan Hester is a polymer scientist living in Wisconsin. He is concerned about global climate change because he has kids and wishes them not to inherit an Earth irreparably harmed even as we possess the technologies to avoid the harm. He maintains a science-based website and blog about climate change at rescuethatfrog.com.