Hoaxes & Rumors

Debunked: Six Days of Darkness June 2015

Debunked: Six Days of Darkness June 2015
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Has NASA announced a period of six days of darkness which will occur in June through July 2015? That is the claim of a popular internet rumor, but it’s not the first time we’ve seen this claim.

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It’s not true.

The current version of the rumor states that NASA has asked the public to remain calm as the world enters a period of six days of darkness on the dates June 30 through July 6, 2015. The reason for the darkness is said to be a solar storm, which is the largest in 250 years and will last 6 days.

NASA, however, has made no such announcement in 2015 or any other year, as this is merely a recurring hoax. We have seen versions of this story twice before, in 2012 and late 2014. The original version stated that the earth would plunge into three days of darkness back in 2012. That story resurfaced in October 2014, and increased to six days of darkness in related fake stories. We are now seeing the fake story in almost the same form in May 2015, with only slight changes in the details.

2012: “Three Days of Darkness” Rumors

In 2012, when “End of the World” chatter was fueled by the end of the Mayan calendar, a similar “three days of darkness” rumor also circulated. It mentioned the dates of December 21st through the 23rd of that year.

It’s likely that the 2012 and 2014 “three days of darkness” rumors were inspired by three days of darkness mentioned in the biblical Book of Exodus, as well as the Catholic prophecy referred to as Three Days of Darkness which predicts that the world will be thrown into darkness at the end of time.

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1859 and 2012 Solar Storms

The rumor above prompts the question as to whether or not a solar storm can actually plunge the earth into darkness as described.

Dr. Tony Phillips, in a 2012 article for NASA entitled, Near Miss: The Solar Superstorm of July 2012,” discussed a massive solar storm which narrowly missed the earth that year. He also discussed what may have happened had the solar storm impacted our planet. He referenced the 1859 Carrington Event of September 1859 in which a powerful solar storm struck the earth. “Intense geomagnetic storms ignited Northern Lights as far south as Cuba and caused global telegraph lines to spark, setting fire to some telegraph offices and thus disabling the ‘Victorian Internet,'” Phillips wrote.

There was no mention of the most powerful solar storm in history throwing the earth into any type of unnatural darkness, nor did Phillips’ prediction about the effects of a massive solar storm include darkness for the earth.

It could be argued that such a solar storm could lead to a sort of “darkness” due to blackouts caused by damaged electrical transformers, but these regional blackouts would not lead to simultaneous worldwide darkness for three straight days.

6 Days of Darkness

Following the popularity of the “3 days of darkness” rumor which circulated in October 2014, fake news website Huzlers published an article in which it is claimed that the earth would fall into 6 days of darkness in December 2014. Huzlers is a self-described “satirical entertainment” website, and its “news” reports are completely fictional. It has also been pointed out that NASA cannot predict a storm months in advance, as it only takes 18 hours from the time of ejection until the storm reaches the earth.

History

The Google Trends report below shows that the rumor for three days of darkness first peaked in December 2012. Then in October 2014, both the 3-day and 6-day versions surged again. Weeks before the alleged December 21 event, the 6-day version had a minor surge thanks to the Huzlers story. In May 2015 we are seeing the 6-day version gain traction once again.

Bottom Line

NASA has not announced that there will be a world-wide period of darkness in June and July 2015. The rumor has circulated in 3-day and 6-day variants since 2012, and was perhaps inspired in part by Biblical writings and a Catholic prophecy. There is also a fake news version of the rumor which has further confused some readers into believing the story.

A massive solar storm cannot be predicted in advance, and would not cause worldwide darkness.

Updated May 25, 2015
First published October 2014

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