Days of darkness rumor is just that – a rumor

Posted at 7:46 PM, Nov 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-07 19:46:09-05

Newport News, Va. - A rumor floating around social media has a lot of folks talking.

That rumor claims that NASA has made a statement, saying the Earth will see three to six days of darkness in December due to a solar storm.  That storm would cause dust and space debris to build up so much, that it would block 90-percent of sunlight.

So many people have been concerned, that NASA's Earth Observatory responded on Facebook.  They wrote, "NASA has in no way issued any statement....All these rumors are absolutely false."

"It sounds to me like somebody decided they wanted to make something fun to hit the headlines, and they got it," said Dr. Kelly Herbst, astronomy curator at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News.

Herbst says areas north of the Arctic Circle see continuous days of darkness every December.  But all of the Earth, no.

"That's really not something that we could predict like a month in advance.  I mean, a big solar storm is a possibility, but we've never seen a big solar storm that kicks up dust," said Herbst.

So, it's all just a rumor, and Herbst says we shouldn't be worried.

"There's lots of dust in the solar system, but solar storms don't really produce dust in that way that could obscure the sun," said Herbst.