Four weird stories from 2017's eclipse
Monday, August 21, 2017, 2:13 PM - The long-awaited total eclipse of the sun finally showed its face Monday, but long before that, the stories surrounding it were...starting to get weird.
Here are a few weird and/or awesome stories that made their way into the media as the August 21 eclipse approached.
Watch out for Lizard Men...
It's always nice when your state's emergency measures organization is looking at every conceivable angle of a major event to make sure they're prepared in case of a crisis. Even if that crisis is possible lizard men.
Apparently lizard man sightings are an old story in South Carolina, like the Jersey Devil in New Jersey or Ogopogo in British Columbia's Okanagan Lake, and South Carolina's Emergency Management Division wants to make sure you don't forget to watch your back while you're gazing up at the eclipse.
"SCEMD does not know if lizard men become more active during a solar eclipse, but we advise that residents of Lee and Sumter counties should remain ever-vigilant," the service tweeted out, with a helpful map of where previous lizard sightings coincide with the path of totality.
While there were a few grumbles about whether a parody tweet is the best use of South Carolina taxpayers' dollars, most people got in on the joke, and of course the SCEMD doesn't actually believe in lizard men, probably.
Most of you probably never heard of the lizard man of South Carolina, but Bigfoot, or Sasquatch (depending on where you are) is another matter.
This elusive cryptid has been allegedly spotted here and there across North America, and thanks to Josh Stephens, a cartographer and senior visualizer at NASA's Earth Observatory, you can plan your eclipse viewing jaunt to coincide with the highest chance of seeing the beastie.
Stephens (check out the rest of his Twitter feed for more awesome visualizations) didn't make any of this up. He pulled data on the sightings meticulously gathered by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, which is absolutely a real group that has regular meetings and everything.
Then he ran it through NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio, and voila! Instant Sasquatch-eclipse mash-up ... or, as Stephens calls it, "sunsquatch."
For such a stunning cosmic event as as a total solar eclipse, to some it might seem like a pagan religious experience.
But everybody's favourite go-to pagan monument, England's Stonehenge, will be nowhere near the path of the eclipse, so people hoping for the next best thing will have to travel to the mysterious "Carhenge" of Alliance, Nebraska.
Well OK, not really all that mysterious: Unlike the millennia-old Stonehenge, Carhenge dates back merely to 1987, when, as NPR tells it, it was built by a petroleum engineer who wanted to honour his deceased father, but had trouble finding stones large enough for his purpose. So he settled for old jalopies instead, and the thing is now a mainstay of tourism for the town.
Of course, its designer likely didn't build it with a total solar eclipse in mind, but it happens to be in the path of totality, so the town is making the most it. With thousands of people expected, a number of events are planned, and NPR says there will be ample parking.
Bonnie Tyler's making a comeback
It's OK to be honest with us: When someone says "Total eclipse of the...." in a sentence, in your head, you're more likely to say "heart" than "sun."
Singer Bonnie Tyler's 1983 power ballad was always a show stopper, and just imagine her singing it live during the actual eclipse of the sun on Monday. Actually, if you were quick enough a few months ago, you'd have been able to snag a spot aboard the Oasis of the Seas cruise ship, where she will be doing precisely that.
Tyler told Time Magazine the version she'll be singing will be somewhat adjusted.
"The eclipse of the sun lasts 2 minutes and 40 seconds, I’m told," Tyler told the magazine. "Unlike my song. It had to be chopped about, because it was so long. I never thought it would be played on the radio, in the beginning."
In the long lead up to the eclipse, there have been plenty of parody versions of Tyler's iconic song. Here's our favourite science-y one: