“Ring of Fire,” “Death Star”: Behold Tomorrow’s Solar Eclipse

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.If you need an escape hatch from the earthly howlers and horrors of a diminished but still-thrashing Donald Trump (“Donald Trump for…speaker of the House?” asks CNN), catch tomorrow’s solar eclipse. It’s a “ring of fire” taking a rare path over the North Pole. It’s also a good way to avert your eyes for a minute, and a timely reminder of how far humanity has (mostly) come in accepting more and more scientific explanations of causation despite the crush of disinformation and delusion. The Washington Post has a classic explainer on “the strangest, scariest eclipse myths throughout history.”
Consider the ritual human sacrifice performed by Aztecs to “feed and strengthen the sun and ward off the eclipse,” and the bear-bit-the-sun theory of eclipse. Or the theory that a vampire is at fault, having tried to swallow the sun before the vamp “spat it out when it burned his tongue,” causing the eclipse. Or the belief that the sun is covered not by the moon but by a bird or “a sorcerer’s cloak rather than the moon.”
If nothing else, the eclipse can put into focus some of the strides in scientific fact-finding, resetting your clock, scaling your sense of perspective. Give yourself that much. Look up and out, if not into space, then into more space than your immediate surroundings. Unless you’re on board with the vampire theory of causation.

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