It’s officially Leo season for all the late July babies out there, and the approaching eclipse means your lunar nodes will be activated, illuminating your destiny in the velvety darkness of the night sky … except, not really. Whether you religiously scan your horoscope every morning for astrological insights or scoff at the mention of cosmic flux, there are a lot of claims swirling this summer about celestial happenings influencing the zodiac.
There’s no harm in studying your astrological sign, and a 2005 Gallup poll indicates that one out of four Americans believes their horoscope. But even if our past lives and immediate futures are written in the stars, this month’s lunar eclipse won’t affect anything — spiritually, that is.
Why Is the Lunar Eclipse Happening?
In just four days, the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century will come grace the night sky. On July 27, the blood moon will pass through Earth’s shadow for 102 minutes. A total lunar eclipse can only occur when the sun, Earth, and moon are perfectly aligned, and the combination of a darkened moon and a reddish, blood-colored hue has historically frightened onlookers who couldn’t explain the sudden shift.
Thus, past civilizations may have attributed the hour and a half of this week’s eclipse to various gods interfering with destinies and deities and the like. But thanks to the advent of modern astronomy, we know that the moon isn’t receiving direct sunlight on its elliptical orbit around the sun and Earth, causing red light to refract from Earth’s atmosphere and paint the moon bloody. As a nice touch, the proximity of the moon to Earth makes it easy to admire the eclipse without special glasses or a telescope. The blood moon will be completely visible in Eastern Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, and it will be partially visible in West Africa, South America, Europe, and Australia. But anyone outside that range can watch a livestream courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project.
Why Do Astrologists Say the Lunar Eclipse Affects Horoscopes?
The reigning astrological belief about lunar eclipses, especially a rare total eclipse like this week’s, is that the combination of a blood moon and a lengthy eclipse in an already busy celestial season will heighten emotions, intensify personal relationships, and quicken instincts. Astrologists really do map out the stars and quantify their horoscopes based on the position of different astral bodies, so it’s not entirely true that people who write about the zodiac for a living are just making up random predictions based on nothing. That being said, it’s entirely based on superstition.
What Scientific Evidence Exists for Horoscopes?
Take it from NASA: Astrology isn’t real. Phil Plait, an actual astronomer, has a comprehensive explanation of why science and the zodiac are at odds. To sum it up, the forces astrologists claim affect our personalities and our behavior cannot possibly affect Earth. Known forces are too weak to sway the moon’s gravitational pull or the sun’s electromagnetism, and any unknown forces would allow asteroids and other planets to overwhelm Earth if they were actually that powerful. The solar system as we know it is perfectly balanced to allow for life on Earth in the first place.
Additionally, horoscopes rely on selective bias to convince readers that the predictions laid out in flowery language and mystic appeal are true. We’re more likely to remember things that seem to align with our horoscopes, and we’re more likely to disregard the parts that don’t, thanks to subjective validation. Plenty of studies have already been done to prove that astrology, and horoscopes in particular, have no merit.
One thing we can all get behind is how incredible the total lunar eclipse looks, and how insanely cool our celestial backyard is, regardless if it influences our destiny or not.
It’s D🌝PE SPACE WEEK: July 23-29, 2018 will see a full moon (the “Full Buck Moon”); a total lunar eclipse that will see it turned a bloody color; Mars at opposition, wherein the red planet will be at its closest approach to Earth; and the Delta Aquarius meteor shower. Such a confluence of dope celestial events calls for the first semi-annual Inverse Dope Space Week! Be sure to join our private Dope Space Pics Facebook group to share in the stranger wonder of space all year long. And listen to I Need My Space, the Inverse weekly podcast about the weirdness of space.