Fact Check: Sun And Moon WILL Align Briefly In Path Of Totality During April 8, 2024, Eclipse

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Sun And Moon WILL Align Briefly In Path Of Totality During April 8, 2024, Eclipse Zodiac Mix-Up

Will the sun and moon not be in alignment on April 8, 2024, because the heavenly bodies are "in the wrong place" astrologically? No, that's not true: A video on TikTok making this claim is misleading on three points -- the alignment of the sun and moon during a total eclipse, the function of an app called SkyView and the differences between traditional dates associated with astrological zodiac signs and dates associated with the astronomical constellations. The sun and moon will align on April 8, 2024 -- but only in totality along a specific path, and only for a few minutes. Astrologically, the eclipse will be in the boundaries of Pisces, as expected and depicted in the SkyView app.

The claim appeared in a video on TikTok by @apothicarian on March 20, 2024, with following hashtags:

#april8 #eclipse #sun #moon #solar

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:


(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Apr 3 17:00:22 2024 UTC)

Text captions displayed during the video play say:

The sun and moon are not aligned on April 8!!
If there is an eclipse what is causing it?
This is not about the calendar being off.
See my videos about the sun being in the wrong place since Sept 23

The SkyView app

At the start of this video the narrator mentions a stargazing app called SkyView. The SkyView app won the "Best of 2011" award from the App Store, and the New York Times' "Top 10 App 2011." A review published on Space.com shows the app is enjoyed by all levels of stargazers. It features gyroscope calibration with the iPhone's compass, allowing a user to hold their phone or tablet up to the sky to identify stars, planets, constellations and satellites. The app also has a calendar where the user can view the sky at a set date and time in the past or future. In her TikTok the narrator, @apothicarian, says, in part:

People are talking about the eclipse but they are not talking about this -- the sun and moon are not aligned on April 8. They are in Pisces. Right now, if you go to your SkyView app and you push forward to April 8th, plug it in, it will show you that the sun and the moon are in Pisces, they are not aligned, they are sitting beside each other but they are not aligned. How is that possible? Because the sun and the moon have been out of place since back in September 2023. I've been doing these videos telling you the sun is not where it should be ...

Later on March 20, 2024 -- the day the video that is the focus of this fact check was posted -- @apothicarian posted a follow-up to her first video. In the follow-up video she partially corrects one earlier error and doubles down on another. She says at the opening:

OK. Mystery solved about the sun and the moon aligning. I put the time in at 1:30 and now they're aligning. However they're still in Pisces. So the sun and the moon are not supposed to be in Pisces when it is an Aries eclipse. Aries is the spring equinox, OK, and it's just entering...but, well, on April 8 it will be in the middle of Pisces. Literally in the middle of Pisces. That is not right.

Lead Stories downloaded the free version of the SkyView app and set the app's calendar to April 8, at 3:07 p.m. EST for the local eclipse time. The illustrations of the zodiac signs Aries and Pisces each fill the screen of an iPhone, so the composite image below uses two screenshots that have been merged with Adobe Photoshop. The upper inset (outlined in red) shows the true color and contrast visible in the app. The new moon, sometimes called the invisible phase of the moon, is depicted as virtually solid black. In the lower inset, Lead Stories used enhancing tools in Photoshop to make the moon more visible. In doing so, the app's illustrated features of the moon's surface became apparent and it stands out from the speckled texture of the deep space behind it. The sun is depicted as a white starburst, and for some reason is shown, impossibly, in front of the moon. This illustration is inaccurate and does not depict how the solar eclipse will appear on April 8, 2024, when the sun, the moon and a viewer in the path of totality are all aligned in a perfectly straight line.

The eclipse

There is no question about whether the moon will pass behind the sun -- that will not happen. A solar eclipse is an event when the moon passes between the Earth and sun. On April 8, 2024, a total eclipse will be observed in North America along what is known as "the path of totality" (NASA map here) passing from Mexico to Nova Scotia, Canada. The rest of the continental United States will be able to view at least a partial solar eclipse.

Lead Stories reached out to the SkyView App developers to find out why the eclipse was depicted this way, if it is a glitch or serves a functional purpose. We will update this article if we receive a reply.


(Source: Lead Stories composite image with screenshots of SkyView app taken on Wed Apr 03 21:39:51 2024 UTC)

The zodiac signs and astronomy

The scope of this fact check is not astrology, which Britannica.com describes as a:

... type of divination that involves the forecasting of earthly and human events through the observation and interpretation of the fixed stars, the Sun, the Moon, and the planets.

In the video that is the focus of this fact check, @apothicarian is using her understanding of astrology to evaluate the relative correctness of the solar system. She says this is not about the calendar being off, rather that the sun and moon are out of place. She is adamant that this is "an Aries eclipse" and that if the eclipse occurs anywhere other than Aries that something is out of alignment. So what is out of alignment?

There are several systems of astrology, and the position of the sun against actual astronomical constellations in the sky is not matched to the dates assigned to star signs of Western astrology. One striking example is that the astronomical time for Scorpius (or Scorpio) is only a week and not a month, as it is in astrology. A chart (archived here) from the physics department of Weber University compares the astrological and astronomical dates for each of the constellations. For Aries and Pisces:

  • Astrological Aries is March 21 - April 20, astronomical Aries is April 19 - May 13
  • Astrological Pisces is February 20 - March 20, astronomical Pisces is March 12 - April 18

While @apothicarian is correct in that April 8, 2024, falls in the Aries star sign of astrology, that does not mean that the sun is out of alignment if it appears in Pisces during the April 8, 2024, eclipse. That is because on that date it is Pisces, and not Aries, that will be in the astronomical alignment.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about this eclipse can be found here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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