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May 21, 2012

Ring of Fire Eclipse: 2012

A rare annular eclipse - a ring of sunlight as the new moon, passing between Earth and sun, blocks most, but not all, of the sun's disc. It is striking to see. Differing from a total solar eclipse, the moon in an annular eclipse appears too small to cover the sun completely, leaving a ring of fire effect around the moon. The eclipse cast its shallow path crossing the West from west Texas to Oregon then arcing across the northern Pacific Ocean to Tokyo, Japan. (Thanks to all Big Picture viewers for sending us your images of the eclipse.) -- Paula Nelson (49 photos total)

A partial solar eclipse as seen during sunrise in the coastal town of Gumaca, Quezon province, southeast of Manila, May 21, 2012. Thousands turned their eyes to the sky on both sides of the Pacific to gaze excitedly as an eclipse occluded the sun at dawn in Asia and at dusk in the western United States. An annular eclipse occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun, but is too far from the Earth to block it out completely, leaving a "ring of fire" visible. (Ted Aljibeted Aljibe/AFP/GettyImages)

A solar eclipse rises over the horizon in Xiamen in southeastern China's Fujian province, May 21, 2012. Millions of Asians watched as a rare "ring of fire" eclipse crossed their skies. The annular eclipse, in which the moon passes in front of the sun leaving only a golden ring around its edges, was visible to wide areas across the continent. (Associated Press) #

Maikos, or apprentice geishas, observe an annular solar eclipse with solar viewers at a shrine in Kyoto, western Japan, May 21, 2012. The sun and moon aligned over the Earth in a rare astronomical event - an annular eclipse that dimmed the skies over parts of Asia and North America, briefly turning the sun into a blazing ring of fire. (Yomiuri Shimbun/Reuters) #

A sea lion wears a solar viewer during an annular solar eclipse at an aquarium in Tokyo, May 21, 2012. (Yomiuri Shimbun/Reuters) #

Sun spots are seen as the moon moves into a partial eclipse position after reaching annularity during the first annular eclipse seen in the U.S. since 1994, May 20, 2012 in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Differing from a total solar eclipse, the moon in an annular eclipse appears too small to cover the sun completely, leaving a ring of fire effect around the moon. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

An eclipse is seen at the Bund along the Huangpu River in Shanghai, May 21, 2012. The sun and moon aligned over the earth in a rare astronomical event - an annular eclipse that dimmed the skies over parts of Asia and North America, which briefly turned the sun into a blazing ring of fire. (Aly Song/Reuters) #

Brendon Ladd of La Habra, Calif. leans over his daughter Mary Carson, 5, of Palm Springs, Calif. as she looks through a telescope during an eclipse viewing event held at The Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage. The eclipse was visible as a partial eclipse in the Coachella Valley, but in other parts of the country it was visible as an annular eclipse creating a visual ring of fire around the moon. Palm Springs, Calif. astronomer Bob Victor said that for the Coachella Valley, this will be the biggest portion of the sun covered by area until an eclipse in 2044. (Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun) #

A tourist watches an annular eclipse through a solar viewer in Monument Valley Tribal Park in Utah, May 20, 2012. The sun and moon aligned over the earth in a rare astronomical event. (Gene Blevins/Reuters) #

A composite of images of the first annular eclipse seen in the U.S. since 1994 shows several stages, as the eclipse passes through annularity and the sun changes color as it approaches sunset, May 20, 2012 in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Differing from a total solar eclipse, the moon in an annular eclipse appears too small to cover the sun completely, leaving a ring of fire effect around the moon. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

Allison Deyhle, 9, and her twin sister, Emily, joined hundreds of other people to watch the eclipse from the Redfield Campus Observatory in Reno, Nev., May 20, 2012. It is the first eclipse in Reno since 1930. (Andy Barron/Reno Gazette-Journal) #

Peggy Pennington watches the annular eclipse with her dogs Sasha and Foxy Lady, in Kanarraville, Utah, May 20 2012. The tiny town of Kanarraville, 40 miles north of St George and 263 miles south of Salt Lake City, marketed the town's"sweet spot" location where an almost perfect annular eclipse could be seen bringing visitors and vendors to their solar eclipse viewing "party". Kanarraville is a town in Iron County, Utah, United States. The population was 311 at the 2000 census. (Robyn Beck/AFP/GettyImages) #

Aaron Peck, 4, watches the annular eclipse in Kanarraville, Utah May 20 2012. (Robyn Beck/AFP/GettyImages) #

Annular Solar Eclipse is observed, May 21, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. It is the first time in 25 years since last annular solar eclipse was observed in Japan. (Masashi Hara/Getty Images) #

Bus tour guides look at an annular eclipse on a rooftop of the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo, May 21, 2012. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #

Junior high school students observe the annular solar eclipse through special glasses at the school playground in Kawakaki, surburban Tokyo, May 21, 2012. (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/GettyImages) #

A partial annular solar eclipse is reflected in a pool of water in Beijing, China, May 21, 2012. (Ng Han Guan/Associated Press) #

A business man watches an annular solar eclipse at a waterfront park in Yokohama, near Tokyo, May 21, 2012. Millions of early risers in Asia turned their attention skyward to view a rare "ring of fire" eclipse as it crossed their skies. (Shuji Kajiyama/Associated Press) #

Commuters view and try to take photos as an annular solar eclipse occurs in the sky in Tokyo, May 21, 2012. Millions of Asians watched as a rare "ring of fire" eclipse crossed their skies. (Kyodo News) #

An annular solar eclipse is seen through the clouds in Kawasaki, surburban Tokyo, May 21, 2012. (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/GettyImages) #

High school students watch the annular solar eclipse in Fujisawa, near Tokyo, May 21, 2012. (Shizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press) #

People view an annular solar eclipse in Sapporo, Hokkaido, northern Japan, May 21, 2012. (Kyodo News) #

Solar eclipse, May 20, 2012, seen from downtown Fort Worth, Texas. (David Kent/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram) #

Michael Garwood of Las Vegas gets a look at the annular eclipse in Las Vegas, May 20, 2012. (Jessica Ebelhar/Las Vegas Review-Journal) #

A partial solar eclipse descends in the sky behind crosses in an Ixonia, Wis. in a farm field, May 20, 2012. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal) #

An annular solar eclipse is partially seen at sunrise, May 21, 2012, from the coastal township of Gumaca, Quezon province, 187 kilometers (116 miles) southeast of Manila, Philippines. Millions of Asians watched as a rare "ring of fire" eclipse crossed their skies. (Bullit Marquez/Associated Press) #

A small bird rests on a powerline backgrounded by an annular solar eclipse seen from Los Angeles, California, May 20, 2012 . (Joe Klamarjoe/AFP/GettyImages) #

The annular eclipse is visible through binoculars in Sacramento, Calif., May 20, 2012. (Randy Pench The Sacramento Bee) #

An annular eclipse appears, May 20, 2012, north of Odessa, Texas. (Albert Cesare/Odessa American) #

An annular eclipse appears, May 20, 2012, north of Odessa, Texas. (Albert Cesare/Odessa American) #

A thundershower rolls through as an annular solar eclipse appears in Gardnerville, Nev., May 20, 2012. (Cathleen Allison/Associated Press) #

Hikers watch an annular eclipse from Papago Park in Phoenix, May 20, 2012. (Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic) #

The moon passes between the sun and the earth as viewed through coastal fog rolling in from the ocean in Encinitas, Calif., May 20, 2012. (Mike Blake/Reuters) #

Pat Wehling of Albuquerque watches the annular solar eclipse at the Petroglyph National Monument near Albuquerque, N.M., May 20, 2012. Bus loads of people turned out for the viewing party at the monument. Albuquerque was one of the best spots in the U.S. to witness the eclipse. (Susan Montoya Bryan/Associated Press) #

The solar eclipse is reflected at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility located at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. (Randy Montoya/Department of Engery) #

People watch a rare annular eclipse dim the sky, as the sun and moon align for a "ring of fire" spectacle over the southwestern town of Kanarraville, Utah, May 20, 2012. Eclipses of some type occur almost every year, but stargazers have not seen an annular - shaped like a ring - eclipse on U.S. soil since 1994, and the next one is not to occur until 2023. (Jim Urquhart/Retuers) #

People observe the solar eclipse, May 20, 2012 in Chico, Calif. (Ty Barbou/The Chico Enterprise-Record) #

People view an annular solar eclipse as they look towards the setting sun on the horizon, May 20, 2012, in Phoenix.(Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press) #

In this composite of five images, the moon appears to almost cover the sun during an annular eclipse of the sun May 20, 2012 as seen from the Pueblo Bonito ancient building at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in Nageezi, Arizona. (Stan Honda/AFP/GettyImages) #

The first annular eclipse seen in the U.S. since 1994 wanes to a partial eclipse as the sun sets, May 20, 2012 in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

The new moon finishes its path in front of the setting sun between West Mitten and East Mitten buttes during an annular eclipse, May 20, 2012, in Monument Valley, Ariz. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press) #

The first annular eclipse seen in the U.S. since 1994 wanes to a partial eclipse as the sun sets, May 20, 2012 in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

A man takes photographs during the first annular eclipse seen in the U.S. since 1994, May 20, 2012 in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

A partial eclipse is seen from a camera reflection behind a pickup near Flagstaff, Arizona, May 20, 2012. (Jason Lee/Reuters) #

The annular eclipse seen from Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 20, 2012. The western United States watched as a rare "ring of fire" eclipse crossed their skies. (Greg Sorber/The Albuquerque Journal) #

The annular eclipse seen from Albuquerque, N.M., May 20, 2012. The western United States watched as a rare "ring of fire" eclipse crossed their skies. (Greg Sorber/The Albuquerque Journal) #

The ring of fire solar eclipseis seen near McCloud, Calif., May 20, 2012. The western United States watched as the "ring of fire" eclipse crossed their skies. (The Sacramento Bee) #

A partial annular solar eclipse is seen from the coast of Xiamen, in China's southeast province of Fujian, May 21, 2012. Millions turned their eyes to the sky on both sides of the Pacific as a solar eclipse created a "ring of fire" from Asia to the western United States. (AFP/GettyImages) #

School children observe an annular eclipse with solar viewers at Hirai Daini Elementary School in Tokyo, May 21, 2012. (Issei Kato/Reuters) #

People watch an annular solar eclipse at a rooftop of Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo, May 21, 2012. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #



 
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