Eclipses: Separating Fact from Fiction


California will experience an annular solar eclipse on Saturday, October 14, 2023. The eclipse, called a ring of fire, will be visible in the most northeastern corner of the state, while the rest of the state will see a partial eclipse.

Solar eclipses are remarkable astronomical events, but they’ve also given rise to a host of myths and misunderstandings.

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) remains committed to promoting public safety and ensuring Californians have the information they need.

Solar eclipses can trigger natural disasters like earthquakes or tsunamis.


  • Solar eclipses do not have any direct correlation with triggering earthquakes or tsunamis. They are celestial events and do not influence Earth’s tectonic activities. Attributing the occurrence of natural disasters to a solar eclipse is a misconception that lacks scientific basis. It’s essential to rely on accurate information from reputable sources and scientific authorities to understand the causes of such events.

Emergency services are typically overwhelmed during a solar eclipse event.


  • While there may be an increase in calls related to eye injuries or accidents during a solar eclipse, emergency services are well-prepared and have plans in place to manage such situations. It’s important for individuals to exercise caution and follow safety guidelines.

Solar eclipses cannot severely impact ocean currents.


  • While eclipses can lead to a temporary and localized reduction in solar radiation, it is not of a magnitude that significantly alters oceanic conditions. Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of both the sun and the moon, and they occur regularly, twice a day, as the Earth rotates.

Watching a solar eclipse without proper eye protection is unsafe.


  • Staring directly at the sun can cause permanent eye damage. It is crucial to wear certified solar viewing glasses to protect your eyes during a solar eclipse. If you don’t have eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, you can use an indirect viewing method, which does not involve looking directly at the Sun. One way is to use a pinhole projector, which has a small opening (for example, a hole punched in an index card) and projects an image of the Sun onto a nearby surface. With the Sun at your back, you can then safely view the projected image. Do NOT look at the Sun through the pinhole!

Remember, safety precautions are essential during solar eclipses. Always follow official guidelines and use approved viewing methods to protect your eyes.