21 May 2012


The title refers not to the Pacific Ring of Fire, but to the visual effect produced by an annular solar eclipse ~ "when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun.  Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the outline of the Moon."

Yesterday viewers in the eastern Pacific Ocean and western United States were treated to the spectacle of an annular eclipse.  Here is an animation showing the path of the moon's shadow across the Earth's surface, with insets showing how the eclipse looked from the ground.  Click on the "eclipse graphics" prompt.

Below are several striking views of the eclipse ~ click to enlarge each image.

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