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  • Writer's pictureKaren Brittingham-Edmond

The Great Frog and Bear Battle: A Solar Eclipse Tale of the Cherokee and Pomo Tribes in 2024

April 8, 2024



Solar eclipses have a rich and fascinating history in America, dating back centuries. From the indigenous people who believed them to be a sign of the end of the world to the Spanish explorers who recorded their observations to the modern-day scientists and astronomers who study them, solar eclipses have captured the imagination of people across the continent.


One of the most exciting solar eclipses in recent memory was the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. This event was visible from coast to coast in the United States, and millions of people flocked to see it in person. From the awe-inspiring moment when the Moon completely covered the Sun to the eerie darkness that fell over the landscape to the incredible corona that was visible around the Moon, this eclipse was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that left a lasting impression on all who witnessed it.


Whether you're a seasoned astronomer or just someone interested in the wonders of the universe, solar eclipses are an exciting and captivating phenomenon that continues to inspire and amaze people across America.


If you're in New Jersey, mark your calendars for Monday, April 8, when a partial solar eclipse will be visible in the sky. According to TimeAndDate.com, the eclipse will begin at 2:07 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and last until 4:36 p.m. EDT. https://www.timeanddate.com/


The peak of the eclipse will occur around 3:21 p.m. EDT when the Sun will be most covered by the Moon. During the eclipse, observers will notice that the Sun appears to have a bite taken out of it as the Moon passes in front of it and blocks part of its light.


It's important to note that you should never look directly at the Sun during a solar eclipse, as this can cause permanent damage to your eyes. Instead, special solar viewing glasses or a solar filter can be used to observe the eclipse safely.


While this will be a partial eclipse rather than a total one, it's still a rare and exciting event worth observing. So gather your friends and family, find a safe viewing spot, and enjoy this awe-inspiring display of nature's beauty.


Did you know?

Did you know that according to The Cherokee Phoenix Online Newspaper, the Cherokee people had an enchanting story about solar eclipses? Before they knew what an eclipse was, they believed that a giant frog, or walosi, was slowly devouring the Sun or the Moon. As the light faded and the sky dimmed, it was thought that the walosi was getting closer and closer to finishing its meal. https://www.cherokeephoenix.org/culture/tribal-lore-beliefs-surround-rare-eclipse-event/article_5e392916-ed3c-11ee-bfa5-5b5d941d659b.html


Beware, for the Pomo, an indigenous group of people residing in the northwestern United States, recount a spine-chilling tale of a bear that engaged in a dispute with the Sun and took a bite out of it. The Pomo refer to a solar eclipse as "Sun got bit by a bear." Following the Sun's bite, the bear, according to the story, proceeded to confront the Moon and took a bite out of it as well, resulting in a lunar eclipse. This narrative could have been their way of justifying why a solar eclipse occurs approximately two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse. https://www.ncacbsa.org/seneca/native-american-solar-eclipse-myths-and-legends/


Of course, we now know that solar eclipses are caused by the Moon passing between the Sun and the Earth, casting a shadow on the Earth's surface. But there's something delightfully whimsical about the idea of a giant frog nibbling on the Sun or Moon.


It's fascinating to think about how different cultures have tried to make sense of these celestial events throughout history. From the Cherokee's walosi to the ancient Greeks' belief that eclipses were a sign of the gods' displeasure, solar eclipses have captured our imaginations and inspired countless stories and legends.


So, the next time you witness a solar eclipse, take a moment to appreciate the magic and wonder of this natural phenomenon and think about all the fascinating stories people have told about it throughout history.




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