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SYFY WIRE Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracies Orbit April 8 Total Solar Eclipse; Why You Shouldn't Worry

The world isn't going to end, you weirdos.

By Cassidy Ward
An Eclipse

In 2006, a total solar eclipse kicked off a wave of supernatural abilities in NBC’s Heroes. The relationship between a solar eclipse and the emergence of superpowers is never fully explained in the show, but viewers rolled with it anyway, because there’s something innately magical about a solar eclipse.

That said, ancient astronomers clocked an understanding of eclipses a long time ago, because while eclipses might feel magical, but they are entirely physical and mathematical phenomena. If you know the variables at play, the orbital period and inclination of the Earth, Moon, Sun system, then you can predict eclipses into the distant future.

The next total solar eclipse will take place on Monday April 8, and will be visible from parts of North America. It follows on the heels of another total solar eclipse over North America back in 2017. Despite humanity’s well-honed understanding of eclipses, the looming shadow of the Moon has drawn some truly bizarre conspiracy theories out of the woodwork.

The precise details of the predicted weirdness during the eclipse varies from person to person. The only thing the doomsayers have in common is the belief that the Moon’s shadow is bringing something untoward. Let’s look at a few of the claims and then take them one at a time.

For More on Eclipses:
Everything to Know About April's Solar Eclipse, Including Where to Get Free Eclipse Glasses
Why Clouds Might Disappear During the Upcoming Solar Eclipse
Doomed Lunar Lander Captured a View of Earth That’s to Die For

The Conspiracy Theories Surrounding How the April Eclipse Might End the World

A solar eclipse map of the United States.

Some video creators on YouTube, TikTok, and other platforms have reported that the April 8 eclipse’s path of totality will pass over six to eight towns called Nineveh. A nebulous connection to a biblical town of the same name is given as support that this means… something.

Other claims have focused on the crossover between the 2017 and 2024 paths of totality. The total solar eclipse of 2017 traced a path southeast from Oregon to South Carolina. The upcoming 2024 eclipse will cut a northeast path from Texas to Maine, and the two paths will intersect near St. Louis, which some people are latching onto. One TikTok video with nearly 10 million views claims “This has never happened in the United States. We have never had two solar eclipse paths cross over one town.” The video then goes on to wonder if giants might wake up in a nearby national park.

Lastly, a particular brand of conspiracy theory suggests that the eclipse will bring mayhem and destruction. They predict the collapse of power grids and communications systems along the path of totality in the days leading up to and following the eclipse. Depending on where you’re getting your news, the April 8 total solar eclipse is either an exciting once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event or the beginning of the end times.

Why the Eclipse Won't End the World (As Long as We're Cool)


First stop on the conspiracy train: Nineveh. This is the easiest claim to disprove if you’ve got a few free minutes and a map. We know the path of totality precisely and can see every town the Moon’s shadow will pass over during the eclipse. On April 8, a total of two towns called Nineveh will be in the path of totality.

A handful of others might be close by, but anyone claiming they are in the path is stretching the truth. More importantly, it’s unclear why the name of a town under the path of totality should matter. The April 8 total solar eclipse will also pass over places like Yellville, French Lick, and Cash. Maybe we’re all destined to scream, make out, and get rich. This eclipse sounds better and better.

What about where the paths cross over? Certainly, that’s true? Yeah, sort of. The paths will definitely cross over but that’s not weird. We know the paths of totality for every total solar eclipse going into the past and the future. Because they move on curving arcs across the planet, they cross paths pretty frequently. Look at any totality map spanning any reasonable stretch of time and you’ll find intersection points all over the globe. The only thing they mean is that any two non-parallel lines must cross somewhere.

What about civilization stumbling to a crawl? There is some validity to this concern, but only some, and only in certain places. These rare and awe-inspiring events draw huge crowds from all over the world and destinations along the path of totality aren’t always equipped to handle the influx of visitors. If a small town with a typical population of a few thousand suddenly has tens of thousands of people taxing its electrical grid and cell towers, there’s a possibility of failure. We might also see similar shortages of certain materials as supply chains designed for a certain population are suddenly hit much harder.

In 2017, some eclipse tourists got stuck longer than expected, as everyone tried to get home at the same time. If you’re traveling for the eclipse or if you live along the path of totality, it probably makes sense to plan for the occasion. However, if things do fall apart a little bit in the days surrounding the eclipse, that will be the consequence of our own actions and not the fault of the Sun or Moon.

If you’re looking for a world-changing eclipse, catch Heroes streaming now on Peacock.