Thursday, 11 April 2024 15:19

Empire State University Hosts Presentation: How Solar Eclipses Shaped History

Audeliz Matias, Ph.D. delivers a virtual presentation on eclipses and their impact on history at Empire State University’s Veteran and Military Resource Center on Monday afternoon. Photo by Jonathon Norcross. Audeliz Matias, Ph.D. delivers a virtual presentation on eclipses and their impact on history at Empire State University’s Veteran and Military Resource Center on Monday afternoon. Photo by Jonathon Norcross.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Empire State University kicked off its solar eclipse festivities in Saratoga Springs on Monday afternoon with a virtual presentation delivered by Audeliz Matías, Ph.D., the university’s interim dean of the School for Graduate Studies. The lecture detailed not only how eclipses work, but also their significance and influence on cultures across the globe.

In Ireland, the first recorded eclipse was etched into a stone around 3340 BCE. In ancient China, some scribes believed that an eclipse was caused by a hungry, heavenly dog feasting on the sun. The Cherokee in Oklahoma also suspected that a hungry animal might be to blame; a giant frog in the sky who needed to be scared away before it devoured the entire sun.

“Many cultures have seen eclipses in different ways,” Matías said. “Some cultures see it as a moment of change, for bad or good.” 

Matías played video interviews of Native Americans sharing their tribes’ perspectives on eclipses. “The Navajo think this is a time where when [an eclipse] occurs, there needs to be some reverence; there needs to be some time for reflection, some time to think of the future.”

There will be plenty of time to reflect before the next solar eclipse is viewable from the United States, which Matías said won’t happen until 2044. 

The eclipse festivities at Empire State University’s Veteran and Military Resource Center featured solar-themed snacks (such as Capri Sun) and an eclipse viewing party attended by teachers, staff, and students.

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