Humans news stories

110 US Post Offices in Solar Eclipse Path Offer Special Postmarks
19th August 2017 | Humans, Misc., Space

This image provided by the United States Postal Service on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 shows a template of a postmark commemorating the Aug. 21, 2017 total solar eclipse over the United States. More than 110 USPS offices in or near the path of the event will offer special commemorative postmarks for the celestial event.

Going to See the Solar Eclipse? Share Your Story with
19th August 2017 | | Humans, Space

The Great American Solar Eclipse promises to be the celestial event of the century and the team is super-excited. Folks at want to know how important the total solar eclipse of Aug. 21 is to you, and how you’re celebrating. They invite you to share your solar eclipse plans, hopes, expectations and results with us at their reader email.  Your comments might make it into’s eclipse coverage.

Ancient Cultures’ Solar Eclipse Folklore
19th August 2017 | | Ancient, Humans, Space

The English word eclipse comes from the Greek ekleípō meaning disappearance, abandonment. A solar eclipse is the moment in which the sun disappears, abandoning the world. It’s like being forsaken by a god.  The ancient Greeks thought of a solar eclipse as an act of abandonment, a terrible crisis and an existential threat. It meant that the king would fall, that terrible misfortunes would rain down on the world, or that demons had swallowed the sun.  Yet not everyone thought of the eclipse as a horrible threat. For some cultures, the eclipse was an act of creation: The sun and moon were coupling, and would create more stars. For others, it was a random and chaotic act by a trickster or a mischievous boy, causing trouble just for the sake of it.

Eclipse-Viewing is Taboo in Navajo and Other Native American Cultures
19th August 2017 | Ancient, Humans, Space

While millions around the world will flock to view the upcoming total solar eclipse, many who are smack in the middle of its shadowy path will avert their eyes. Eclipses are a bad omen in much of Indian country, and the indigenous world in general, from the Navajo to the Maya.  It’s not easy to obtain information about astronomy from the Navajo this time of year; such things belong to storytelling season, during the winter months, according to cultural resource specialists.  People with telescopes, especially outsiders, are being denied entry to sacred lands.

Car Traffic Apocalypse of the Solar Eclipse Has Begun
19th August 2017 | | Earth, Humans, Space

According to an analysis by Michael Zeiler, a mapping cartographer and eclipse chaser of 26 years.  Approximately 7.4 million Americans may travel to the path of totality, where the moon’s darkest shadow will cut across the country on Monday, 21 August.  But this mass migration may overwhelm small towns and cities with record tourism — and choke key roadways with gridlock traffic.

Why Ancient Cultures Feared Solar Eclipses
19th August 2017 | | Ancient, Humans, Space

Many ancient cultures worshipped the sun and the moon, or at the very least saw them as supernatural beings. Their movement in the sky proceeded with a constancy and regularity that gave people a sense of order in the universe. In these societies, which universally imparted great significance to the activities of these heavenly bodies, a violent and sudden darkening of the sun was a cause for alarm and foreboding.

How Do You Paint an Eclipse? Work Fast in the Dark
19th August 2017 | | Humans, Space

Nearly 100 years ago, when the 1918 eclipse passed over the United States, a team of astronomers invited the artist Howard Russell Butler to join them at an observatory in Oregon. It was the first of four eclipses that he saw, and his paintings of lunar transits and other celestial phenomena are on view in a small, lovely show at the Princeton University Art Museum in New Jersey. His soft-colored, scrupulously accurate paintings of the occluded sun were among the first artistic depictions of individual eclipses, and they document just what an observer in a given spot would have seen. They offer a jolly curtain raiser for Monday’s eclipse, and also continue a recent vogue for exhibitions that marry art and science.

Couple that Chases Eclipses All Over the World Now Has One in Their Backyard
19th August 2017 | | Humans, Space

Meet Sharon and Billy Hahs.  They have travelled the world chasing total eclipses for over a quarter century. Now are this couple now preparing for one in their backyard in Missouri, making a huge family reunion gathering out of the momentous event.

Solar Eclipse Activities for Kids and Families
19th August 2017 | | Humans, Space

This article, written by a professional astronomer, offers ways to enrich the eclipse experience — especially the long, partial phases — with several fun solar eclipse activities for kids and families.

United by the Sun: A Solar Event For All Americans to Share
19th August 2017 | Humans, Space

This August, the US will experience its first total coast-to-coast solar eclipse in 99 years. The eclipse will travel from Oregon to South Carolina, darkening skies and dropping temperatures along the way. Astronomers are already calling it a jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, once-in-a-lifetime event. One told total eclipses have a tendency to “bring people to tears.”  Why do all eclipses seem to cast a spell on the humans who watch them? What do you need to know about this upcoming event?  Read the article and listen to a rebroadcast of an interview with four erudite experts in the field to address concerns and answer questions.

Why Uganda Has Two Solar Eclipse Monuments
19th August 2017 | | Earth, Humans, Space

Solar eclipse events are transient by their very nature, so permanent monuments to such celestial events are scarce. But in the East African country of Uganda, there are two monuments that honor important eclipses from the area’s past, one recent and one hundreds of years old.

Solar Eclipse Injury Risk: Doctors Brace for Rise in ER Visits
19th August 2017 | | Humans, Space

As potentially millions of Americans travel to see the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, doctors are bracing for a spike in visits to emergency rooms across the country, experts say.  “I suspect there will be an increase in patient traffic to ERs, especially in areas expecting a large influx of eclipse watchers,” Dr. Becky Parker, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians said. These include areas in the path of the total solar eclipse which will span from Oregon to South Carolina.  When a population surges, ER visits tend to rise.

How Solar Eclipses Changed History
19th August 2017 | | Ancient, Humans, Space

NPR special series video explores the history of eclipse science, from the earliest astronomers who began to take the measurements of the solar system, to the great thinkers who saw their wildest theories proven, to the modern scientists who still rely on eclipses to probe the sun’s secrets.

The Solar Eclipse that Sparked a WWII Scandal
19th August 2017 | | Humans, Space

In 1937, a National Geographic–U.S. Navy expedition hauled 22,000 pounds of equipment from Washington, D.C., to Honolulu and then 1,900 miles farther into the Pacific Ocean to be there for a eclipse. The 13-person team of scientists and photographers included a NBC announcer and an artist, who painted the sky in real time.  Read this fascinating historical account to find out what happened next.

Mexico City Fishermen Fight to Save Aztec Floating Gardens
18th August 2017 | | Ancient, Earth, Humans

Xochimilco is an idyllic network of lakes, canals and artificial islands improbably tucked into the urban sprawl of Mexico City, and it is a green lung vital to the health of smog-choked Mexico City.  Without fishermen the whole ecosystem would collapse.  One little salamander, whose name means “water monster” in the native Nahuatl language, was considered sacred by the Aztecs, who believed it was the last incarnation of their god Xolotl.  According to local legend, the day those aoxolotl salamanders disappear would be the end of Xochimilco.

Life After Death? Physicists Say Quantum Information Transcends from One World to Another
18th August 2017 | | Humans, Space

While scientists are still in heated debates about what exactly consciousness is, the University of Arizona’s Stuart Hameroff and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose conclude that it is information stored at a quantum level. Penrose agrees –he and his team have found evidence that protein-based microtubules—a structural component of human cells—carry quantum information— information stored at a sub-atomic level.  Penrose argues that if a person temporarily dies, this quantum information is released from the microtubules and into the universe. However, if they are resuscitated the quantum information is channeled back into the microtubules and that is what sparks a near death experience.  Researchers from the renowned Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich are in agreement.

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