Meteorologist and Space.com skywatching columnist Joe Rao was 7 years old when Charles M. Schulz, to use Rao’s own words, “really blew it.” It was the week leading up to the total solar eclipse of July 20, 1963, and the Peanuts creator had devoted a six-day story arc to the astronomical event.
In one strip, Linus—whom Schulz once referred to as the “house intellectual”—offered advice from his ophthalmologist on how to avoid retina damage. (Charlie Brown, in his characteristic hapless fashion, had planned to view the eclipse through sunglasses.)
“There is no safe method for looking directly at an eclipse,” Linus cautioned his friends, along with millions of newspaper subscribers. “And it is especially dangerous when it is a total eclipse.”
To hear Rao describe it decades later, Schulz screwed the Snoopy on that one.