Another fake Equinox scare doing the rounds on social media


SHILLONG, May 22, 2018: A viral message is being circulated on social media particularly on WhatsApp asking people to drink more water between May 22 – May 28 during an 'Equinox,' or risk dehydration or sunstroke.

The WhatsApp message claims an equinox, an astronomical event when the centre of the visible sun is directly over the Earth's equator is occurring this week. Hence, people should drink more water during the period.

The message read: "Drink more water for the next seven days (May 22-28) due to EQUINOX (an astronomical event where the Sun is directly above the Earth's equator). Resultantly, the body gets dehydrated very fast during this period."

While drinking water is not harmful, meteorologists say the WhatsApp message carries fake information contents. Incidentally, high school science text book would inform that Equinox occurs twice each year, around 20 March and 22-23 September and not in May, which in itself establishes the message as false.

According to Deccan Chronicle, Karanam Ramachandra Rao, Director, Cyclone Warning Centre, Visakhapatnam, equinox is a general event that happens twice in a year. "There are two equinoxes every year — in March and September — when the Sun is directly above the Equator and the length of night and day are nearly equal.

"Social media users are posting without checking the credibility of the messages," Rao concluded.

Equinoxes occur when the Earth is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun. The word is derived from Latin: 'equi,' which comes from aequus, meaning equal, and nox-', meaning night. An equinox is a point in the year when daytime and nighttime are exactly the same length i.e. 12 hours each.

A similar message also went viral on social media in March 2018. An ominous message warned people against stepping out during peak hours of the day to avoid possible dehydration and sun stroke. The usual suspect: a heat wave caused by the 'equinox phenomenon.'
Experts had rubbished the scare–mongering on social media.

However, such hoaxes are 'regular phenomena' if one goes going by various media reports over the years.

So drink lots of water, not for the sake of 'Equinox,' but summer is fast approaching and the days are getting hotter.

Source, Image Courtesy: Morung Express