False claim circulates about solar eclipse expected on April 8

A claim that the upcoming solar eclipse would last for three days and there would be total darkness globally is circulating on WhatsApp.

The claim was contained in a video that has been circulating in closed WhatsApp group chats.

But a look at the video showed that the over one-minute footage was earlier published on TikTok as it has its watermark.


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The video when transcribed read:

3 days of darkness will occur when the earth passes through the photon belt, this is as the earth enters and passes through this belt there will be no sunlight nor moonlight on the earth’s surface. Photons are electromagnetic particles that travel at the speed of light and will act as a barrier or temporary shield around the earth. preventing the light of the sun or the stars from passing through it. This is expected to last seventy-two hours or five days there are no breaks of periods of light. During the three days, only darkness. Recommendations, stock up on food, water, candles other essential items. All sunlight would be blocked and solar panels will not generate energy, stay at home and avoid travelling for safety reasons the sunlight will return to the earth marking the beginning of the golden age.

From previous checks of similar content, The FactCheckHub could ascertain that the audio and images were AI-generated.

On WhatsApp, the video was shared alongside a caption that read:

From 4th to 8th April, 2024 it’s likely we experience darkness for 72 hours, you are forwarned, don’t let opportunistic pastors or Alfa’s take advantage of you be prepared.

A total solar eclipse is expected to take place on Monday, April 8, 2024, crossing North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The caption implies that the eclipse would also take place in Nigeria.

A check on the username, @your_fave_shop, displayed at the footage of the TikTok footage led us to the original version of the video which was posted on Friday, March 15, 2024. The video has garnered over 100,000 likes and more than 6,000 comments as of March 31, 2024.

CLAIM

There will be total darkness for three days following expected solar eclipse from April 4.

THE FINDINGS

Checks by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE!

Screenshot of the Viral claim; Insert Misleading Verdict
Screenshot of the viral claim retrieved from TikTok. INSERT: False verdict.

According to NASA, a total solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and earth, completely blocking the face of the sun. Thus, the sky will be darkened for a while as if it were dawn or dusk, contrary to the statement made by the claimant that everywhere would be in total darkness.

The American space agency said that the eclipse would happen for a few minutes, unlike what the claimant stated that it would take place for three days.






     

     

    Individuals are always excited and eager to watch the solar eclipse and it is advised for individuals to wear specialised eye protection glasses for the solar eclipse viewing as it is not safe to look at the sun directly because it might cause severe eye injury to some onlookers.

    Further findings revealed that the eclipse would only take place in the United States contiguous and not in any other country in the remaining continents as forwarded by recipients.

    THE VERDICT

    The claim that there will be total darkness for three days following expected solar eclipse from April 4 is FALSE; the solar eclipse is expected to take place on April 8, 2024 for a few minutes and will not subject the whole world to total darkness, according to NASA.

    This report is republished from the FactCheckHub.

    Fatimah Quadri is a Journalist and a Fact-checker at The ICIR. She has written news articles, fact-checks, explainers, and media literacy in an effort to combat information disinformation.
    She can be reached at sunmibola_q on X or [email protected]

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