I literally can’t even. The crazy in my feed has been too much. Oh yeah, there’s the republican candidates saying crazy things, like Ben Carson talking about climate change, and there’s the absurdity of raising the cost of a drug 5500% because hey, you can, right?, but none of it holds a candle to the sheer wonderful craziness that is this statement:
“Solar Eclipses Are Not Caused By The Moon.”
A hat tip to /u/unmole in Reddit’s /r/skeptic community for bringing this one to my attention. It’s… it’s magical. Hold on, here are some direct quotes.
According to Vedic Astronomy, the most ancient and accurate system of astronomy on the planet, solar eclipses are not caused by the Moon coming in front of the Sun as astronomers believe. Rather the Moon is described as being further away than the Sun and what happens at the time of a solar eclipse is the Moon goes behind the Sun and a dark planet call Rahu comes between the Sun and the Earth.
But what’s the proof? Why should we believe that the moon isn’t responsible? One word, folks: “Earthshine.”
No but seriously: the point of occultation on the Earth is only about a hundred miles wide during an eclipse (this is why you often have to travel thousands of miles to catch one). The sunlight reflecting off the Earth should light up the moon the way the light that reflects off the moon lights up the Earth at night. Which contrary to what this guy seems to believe, is not a hell of a lot. The Earth, from space, is quite dark when lit only by moonlight. And one thing it isn’t is brighter than the corona.
Which is all beside the point because you can, in fact, see the surface of the moon in over-exposed photos of solar eclipses, and one commenter helpfully provides links to such photographic evidence.
But no, apparently during an eclipse “the sun goes completely black and even though the sunlight is blocked out and the sky goes black one can not detect the moon at all. It is just black. No moon. Of course we should be able to see the features on the moon as it is being bathed in brilliant earthshine… The sun should disappear and we should see the stars and in the place of the sun we should see the moon, illuminated by the earthshine. But we don’t see this.”
Know what we also don’t see lit up by Earthshine?
The crazy, it burns.
Richard Ford Burley is a doctoral candidate in English at Boston College, where he’s writing about remix culture and the processes that generate texts in the Middle Ages and on the internet. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, and feminism (and the most ludicrous stuff on the internet) here at This Week In Tomorrow.