PHASES OF A SOLAR ECLIPSE
There are a number of phases that lead up to totality, each one wonderful and awe-inspiring in it's own right.
A photo of Baily's Beads taken from http://www.eclipse.org.uk
A Diamond Ring photo taken from http://www.demon.co.uk
Two total eclipses with the corona blasting out from behind. Left image from http://www.earthview.com Right image from http://www.eclipse.org.uk
NOTE: if solar activity is weak or zero, the corona won't blast out in all directions. Instead, it will follow the magnetic field of the sun and will look like this:
Totality when solar winds are weak. Taken from http://www.wsanford.com
Please remember that the photos on this page are not from the same eclipse.
At totality, it goes dark (obviously), but that's not all it does. Birds stop singing, and a cold breeze blows through the trees. There is a deadly silence, and everything gets spooky... verrrrry spooky! After about 2 minutes as I said earlier, the moon starts to reveal the sun, with the effects mentioned above going in reverse order. Everything returns to normal, and we have a 90 year wait before we see the next one!