You CANNOT See the April 8th Solar Eclipse from Sri Lanka! Don’t Be Eclipsed by Misinformation! 

Partly False Space

Subscribe to our WhatsApp Channel

People are always fascinated by rare astronomical phenomena. When reports of such fascinating information go viral on social media and are translated into different languages, certain critical information often gets misinterpreted. Let’s look at one such recent incident involving the much-hyped solar eclipse on the 8th of April.

Social Media Posts:

A recent flurry of posts implied that the historic total solar eclipse expected on April 8th, 2024, would be visible in Sri Lanka. The posts described the nature of a total solar eclipse, when the daytime turns dark, and even went on to state that “This rare phenomenon happens only once every 375 years.”

Facebook | Archived 

As captivating as that might sound, these claims are far from the truth. However, a number of Facebook users shared this misleading narration, as seen in the viral shares.

Let’s delve more deeply and separate astronomical facts from social media fiction.

Fact Check 

Solar eclipses occur when the moon aligns perfectly between the sun and Earth, casting a shadow on a specific region. This shadow has two key zones:

Totality: Here, the moon completely blocks the sun, creating a breathtaking spectacle in which the moon’s dark silhouette momentarily replaces the sun’s brilliant face. This zone, called the ‘path of totality,’ is narrow, typically only a few hundred kilometers wide. More details can be read here

Partiality: Surrounding the path of totality is a broader region where the moon only partially obscures the sun. The degree of obscuration diminishes with increasing distance from the path of totality.

The ‘path of totality’ for the April 8th eclipse will traverse parts of North America, specifically Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka falls entirely outside this path, meaning the eclipse won’t be visible from the island nation, even as a partial eclipse. More details about this can be read here, here and here

The map of the solar eclipse can be seen below.

Dissecting the Misinformation: Frequency and Rarity

The claim that a total solar eclipse occurs only once every 375 years is another misconception. Solar eclipses are relatively frequent events; on average, a total solar eclipse is expected every 18 months somewhere on Earth. 

However, the path of totality for a specific location is much less common. Many experts suggest, excluding a few exceptions, that these events occur almost once every 300 to 400 years. Detailed articles about it can be read here

Speaking to CNN recently, Dr John Mulchaey, Carnegie Institution for Science’s deputy and the director and Crawford H. Greenewalt Chair of the Carnegie Observatories, stated, “On average, an eclipse occurs in the same place every 375 years.

It appears that this statement was used in social media posts by many English-language users. These posts were then the starting point for a series of misleading translations into many languages, including Sinhala, which missed the original context.

In 2017, certain regions of America witnessed a total solar eclipse, though the specific viewing locations have shifted this time around. However, one small area that experienced the eclipse in 2017 will have the chance to witness it again this time around. For further information, an article detailing this phenomenon is provided here Archived.  

The frequency of eclipses visible from a particular place depends on various factors. Earth’s and the moon’s slightly tilted orbital planes, combined with their relative positions and speeds, create a complex interplay that determines the path and visibility of eclipses. While total solar eclipses might not be a common occurrence for a specific location, they are not extraordinary events on a global scale.

A Glimpse into the Sun’s Corona: The Scientific Significance

While the April 8th eclipse might not be a rare event in the grand scheme of things, Indika Medagangoda, a senior researcher at the Arthur C. Clarke Institute, stated its potential technical significance for astronomers. “However, Sri Lankans will not be able to witness it as it is mainly limited to the North American region”, he said.

During a total solar eclipse, the moon completely blocks the sun’s blinding light, revealing the faint outer layer of the sun’s atmosphere called the corona. The corona is typically challenging to study due to its faintness compared to the sun’s bright surface. However, during totality, astronomers can use specialised instruments to observe the corona and gain valuable insights into solar activity, which can significantly impact Earth’s space environment, including auroras and disruptions to communication and navigation systems. More details about it can be read here: Archived.  

When will Sri Lankans have the opportunity to witness solar eclipses shortly? The next solar eclipse visible in Sri Lanka will be a partial eclipse in 2027. Following that, the first annular eclipse visible in Sri Lanka will be in 2031, and the next total eclipse is projected for 2070. For more detailed information, please refer to this Archived 

Follow us and stay up to date with our latest fact checks.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Google News | TikTok


Social media claims that the April 8th solar eclipse will be visible to Sri Lanka and that it is going to be an extremely rare phenomenon are misleading. Unfortunately, you CANNOT witness the April 8 eclipse from Sri Lanka, even as a partial solar eclipse and the total eclipse is limited to parts of North America. 

On average, total solar eclipses can be seen in some parts of the Earth almost every 18 months. However, a total solar eclipse witnessed in a specific location is much less common, and they occur almost 375 years apart on average, with a few exceptions.

By understanding the mechanics of solar eclipses and the path of totality, we can avoid eclipsing the truth with misinformation.


Title:You CANNOT See the April 8th Solar Eclipse from Sri Lanka! Don’t Be Eclipsed by Misinformation!

Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: Partly False

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *