NASA on The Commons

In honor of the truly awesome total solar eclipse that I so happen to have been in the path of totality for, let’s take a quick look at how people react to this astronomical phenomenon. Whether you’re fantasy or science fiction, the stars tend to be a very important part a civilization. Just look at how we in reality reacted to the chance to see the eclipse.

The USA went bonkers for a month leading up to today, and we ended up congregating together in celebration (i.e., we had parties).  And we knew exactly what was happening. Imagine a pre-industrial civilization or pre-astronomy civilization witnessing the gradual dimming of the sky, hearing the critters of night start to wake up, then for the sky to suddenly look dark except for this glowing ring of light in the sky.

Photo by Oregon State University
Photo by Oregon State University

Mythology is created around events like this, and for good reason. When you are thinking about the peoples of your world, think about what myths tend to do: they explain the world. So maybe your people have belief that coincide with astronomical phenomenon such as this, or festivals that are meant to keep the sun from disappearing again, which may just be holidays over time. Remember, so many of our own holidays are rooted in festivals that were once celebrating nature, such as the solstices.

Even in the far future events like this can still be of interest. Science loves to examine the unusual. Perhaps even the desire to understand the stars is a driving force behind why your people reach out for the stars. Also, try and imagine what an eclipse looks like from the planet’s orbit. I’m sure someone in your world is selling tickets for that space trip.

That’s all for now. To everyone in the USA, I hope you had a happy eclipse day.

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