"The moon orbit gets in close or gets in front of the sun, the moon is going to block the illumination from the sun," explains Dr. Ahmed Elshafie, a professor at College of the Desert.
The promise of the Great American Eclipse is exciting to most Americans, but many ancient cultures actually feared the rare scientific event. "In the Chinese culture, whenever the total eclipse is happening they think there is a big dragon or a big dog that’s going to eat the sun. And in the Viking culture, they think of it as a big sky wolf that is also going to eat parts of the sun," said Dr. Elshafie.
It is believed that around 585 B.C., an eclipse even stopped a war. "In the middle of the battle, a total solar eclipse happened, both parties surrendered; both parties threw down their weapons. They thought that this is like a sign from the gods, that they are displeasuring to them," said Dr. Elshafie.
Even today, total eclipses may confuse creatures of flight. "Birds get very crazy because they think that’s the sunset and they try to fly and go to their homes; so it is a very interesting phenomena," said Dr. Elshafie.
It’s a phenomena that some believe may even impact your personal life. "I think that a lot of people are just feeling very tense lately and a lot of anxiety; we definitely have had people coming in to discuss that, but I think that its that combination really of the eclipse, the mercury retrograde and also the new moon that is just giving people a little bit of extra angst right now," said Joy Brown Meredith, owner of Crystal Fantasy in Palm Springs.