An eclipse is simply the shadow cast by one body upon another, when it passes in front of a source of light. That might sound pretty boring, but there are two types of eclipse that are very interesting indeed:
What effect does an eclipse have on the Earth? In terms of large-scale effects, none! Any of the usual disaster stories you might hear, about how the alignment of the Sun and Moon is going to cause earthquakes, volcanoes, etc., are pure baloney. Total solar eclipses, planetary alignments, etc., have been happening since the solar system was created 5 billion years ago, with no ill effects. Actually, the Sun and Moon come into alignment with the Earth twice every month; this causes Spring and Neap tides, but nothing else. An eclipse is no different in that regard.
However, the visual effects of an eclipse are, of course, totally spectacular! A total solar eclipse, in particular, is the most amazing astronomical spectacle that can be seen from the Earth, and something that everyone should try to see in their lifetime at least once.
The following pages provide more information on what an eclipse is all about:
Copyright (C) 1995-2006 Ian Cameron Smith.
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