An eclipse is an amazing astronomical phenonmenon which can be seen and enjoyed by anyone — if you're in the right place at the right time. There are two types of eclipse, each with its own distinctive characteristics:
An eclipse is an interesting event; the visible effect varies, but a deep eclipse is well worth watching. And the visual effects of a total eclipse are totally spectacular, and not to be missed!
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:
Once you've learned what an eclipse is, our other main sections have plenty more information for you:
In case you're wondering about the effect that an eclipse might have on the Earth — 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; it doesn't have any extra effect on the Earth, not even slightly higher tides. (Any additional pull from having the Sun and Moon perfectly aligned — as opposed to the very close alignment that happens every month — would be so small as to be un-measurable.)
If you want to know why we don't get an eclipse every month, the science pages have the answer!