Franklin Institute Astronomer: Animals Could Get ‘Confused’ During Solar Eclipse

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A top astronomer says animals could get “confused” during the total solar eclipse next week.

During a question-and-answer about the total solar eclipse on CBS Philly’s Facebook page, Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer of The Franklin Institute, said that animals might believe it’s starting to become nighttime when the skies darken during totality.

“Now, for animals, this is a cue to them that the end of the day has come, so they begin to behave as if it’s time to rest for the night, so they start to close down their activities, then they settle down as if they’re planning to go to sleep,” Pitts explained.

Pitts continued, “All they know is that their daily cue for nighttime is coming and so they’re going to pay attention to that and start to act as if it’s nighttime.”

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However, it won’t last that long, as their “nighttime” will only go on for two minutes and 40 seconds.

“You might hear some birds starting to chirp as if it’s evening twilight and you might hear some crickets or some other insects that come out in the evening,” said Pitts.

Pitts added that outside of that, the animals will act pretty normal during the solar eclipse.

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The total solar eclipse will happen Monday, Aug. 21.

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