I heard this story, where they celebrated the birthday of the now defunct North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung in the 1970s and as a birthday present they created through some very complex artillery maneuvers an artificial total solar eclipse over Pyongyang. At that very moment, the dictator stepped out of his palace, in front of the crowd in a suit covered with reflecting material and had giant reflectors directed at him, so he practically 'outshone' the sun... While this seems plausible in view of the megalomania and extreme personality cult we all know about, I still wonder whether this actually happened? Is it technically feasible at all?

  • 2
    can you please provide a source of that story?
    – Baarn
    Jan 7, 2012 at 15:54
  • I can not find any similar claim on google...
    – Sklivvz
    Jan 7, 2012 at 15:59
  • It was in an old Romanian newspaper (that has gone out of print years ago), so no online source, sorry. :(
    – Count Zero
    Jan 7, 2012 at 16:29
  • Notability? Doesn't anyone believe the story is true? (Also, I am uncomfortable with describing a whole country as a cult - I can't think of a definition that would accept that but that wouldn't take in most Western countries too.)
    – Oddthinking
    Jan 7, 2012 at 17:59
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    @Oddthinking - "personality cult" (more canonically, "cult of personality") is an official name for the phenomena. Originally ("Культ личности" in Russian) coined to refer to Stalin by Nikita Khruschyov during Stalinism-denouncing 20th KPSS assembly in 1956.
    – user5341
    Jan 7, 2012 at 22:31

1 Answer 1


It seems that I have finally found the answer to my question courtesy of another SE site: Is there a way to create an artificial solar eclipse?

Seems it is technically not feasible, for one thing because of the scattering of sunlight in the atmosphere, which would presume the necessity to create outside the terrestrial atmosphere an object that covers the sun.

What's more interesting, is that in the Simpsons Montgomery Burns has a device to create solar eclipses. This could be really the source of this legend, especially since the idea of the eclipse is absolutely in unison with what is (still) going on there in North Korea.

  • Your links appear to be wrong for some reason (not due to the Community edit, which only modified the protocol).
    – JAB
    Aug 22, 2017 at 19:58

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