After the solar eclipse yesterday, I read a short news story that said NASA scientist had organized a series of experiments around the world to test whether the eclipse would influence the Earth’s gravity. The tests used Foucault pendulums (pendula?). So far, the answer seemed to be no, but the data had not yet been examined completely.
My question is: Why on earth (haha) should a solar eclipse influence our gravitation? I realize that sun and moon standing in a row exert a stronger pull, but wouldn’t that be cancelled out by centrifugal forces?
Note: I am not referring to the magnetic field, which was also in the news. I understand that phenomenon.