Apocalypse? Science says not.

By Tais Soto-Vaca

This past fortnight had the tristate area on a wild geological rollercoaster. An earthquake, then an eclipse! Many wondered if the end of time was approaching, but I am glad to let you know that it is not the end of time. Don’t take it from me, take it from science!
With sea temperatures rising, recent flooding, and the constant rain, many believe 2024 to mark the beginning of the end. The newest signs: the recent earthquake and eclipse. Conspiracies surrounding these current events have spread rapidly online, with many claiming it is the end of time. Now as any good scientist, I can never say they are 100% wrong, but I will say it is highly unlikely the end has come.
Don’t believe me, believe the science.
On Friday, April fifth a 4.8 magnitude earthquake hit New Jersey. The effects were felt from Boston to Maryland. Since then there have been 46 aftershocks, (at the time of writing this article) with many more predicted to happen.
But why? While most believe earthquakes are rare in this region, they are quite common; we simply don’t feel them. Though there are no active tectonic plates in the area, there are ancient faults throughout New Jersey. In these fractures, gravity may cause the ground on either side to slip, causing what happened on April 5th. Luckily the tremor was relatively weak and caused no major damage.
The earthquake has New Yorkers divided between those who felt it and those who did not. I created a questionnaire for Leman students and staff to discuss how they experienced the earthquake. One responder wrote “I just assumed students were running around above me and shaking the floor. It wasn't until I got a text from a relative about it that I realized it was an earthquake.” Another response said that it felt as though the floor was going to collapse!
Three days after the earthquake, an eclipse graced our sky. The eclipse lasted from 2:00 pm to around 4:30 pm with the most coverage occurring at 3:20 pm. Leman teachers and students viewed the eclipse throughout the city, Senior, Paulina Ytuarte saw it from Battery Park and noted; “It was amazing, such a cool astronomical event especially considering we are the only planet in our solar system who experiences solar eclipses (as a result of the/our moon.)” Although New York City only had a partial eclipse, Upstate New York had a total eclipse. Many students and faculty traveled across the state/country to observe this rare total eclipse. Ms. Sutton traveled to Vermont to view this spectacular event and noted; “It was quiet and serene. Wildlife definitely behaved as if it was nighttime. You could hear the crickets, mosquitos came out. For a brief moment, it felt like time stood still,  It was a beautiful experience!”.
But was this another sign?
Solar eclipses happen as a result of the Moon's imperfect orbit around the Earth. This causes the Moon to end up between the Sun and Earth during the daytime. Total eclipses, such as the one witnessed earlier this month, are rare occurrences because they require the Moon’s center to be perfectly aligned with the Sun’s center. Historically eclipses have been thought of as bad omens, which we carry out today. Though many of these conspiracies have been disproven, there is something to be said about how the distance of the sun to the Earth and the size of the moon line up perfectly to create a total eclipse. If the sun were closer to Earth or if the moon was slightly larger such a natural phenomenon would not occur. Sadly, as the moon continues to move away from us, it’s likely solar eclipses will cease to exist. The alignment of the sun and moon would be compromised and the moon would no longer fully cover the sun (the size and distance would no longer be proportional). Regardless, this eclipse had been long predicted by scientists and mathematicians and had no correlation with the earthquake experienced earlier that week, meaning no, it’s not a sign of the apocalypse.
To reiterate, no it’s not the end of the world, as with most other signs of the end, both the earthquake and eclipse experienced in these first two weeks of April are completely natural, no matter how breathtaking they were.