What the heck is a total solar eclipse?First, let's get some numbers out of the way. The sun is 400 times larger than the moon. But the moon happens to be 400 times closer to the earth than the sun is. On a normal day, this doesn't really matter; the sun and moon rarely ever cross paths in the sky. But occasionally – very rarely – they line up perfectly. When that happens, it looks like this. That, right there, is a total solar eclipse. The moon, which appears to be the same size as the sun from earth, seemingly covers our friendly neighborhood star, blotting out much of its light. When this happens, it gets verydark outside. If you look at the horizon, you'll see a reddish, sunset-esque glow. Of course, you probably won't be staring at the horizon too much since the main attraction will be an incredibly eerie black spot in the sky that lasts roughly 2 minutes in any given location. This sight will track its way across the northwestern and southeastern U.S.
- Animals acting strangely, with nocturnal ones getting confused and waking up.
- A severe dip in solar energy harvested.
- Gravity becoming weaker.