Visible 'ring of fire' during solar eclipse | News | Al Jazeera

Visible 'ring of fire' during solar eclipse

Skywatchers in most of Europe, the Middle East, central and northern Asia were treated on Saturday to an annular eclipse of the Sun.

    Saturday's solar eclipse viewed
    from Hungary

    Just after dawn GMT time, some were able to see the Moon slip inside the Sun's disc to produce a "ring of fire" around the lunar limb.
     
    Since the Moon is currently more than 400,000 kilometres from Earth in its orbit, its apparent size in the sky is insufficient to completely cover the Sun's perimeter - as happens in a total solar eclipse.

    The sky does not go completely black; a ring or annulus of sunlight is still visible.

    The actual effect however, is to throw an "antumbra" or "negative shadow" on the Earth's surface as the Moon moves across the face of the Sun. It is the track of this antumbra that is referred to as the path of annularity.

    Partial show

    On Saturday, this path touched down first on the Grampian Mountains of the Scottish highlands at about 0345 GMT.

    It then moved in a north-western direction, stretching across Loch Ness, the Isle of Lewis and the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

    The track of the shadow took it through the Faeroe Islands at 0351 GMT, and the south-eastern coast of Iceland at 0359 GMT.

    From start to finish, the antumbra's brush across the planet lasted 47 minutes.

    Those viewing outside the favoured zone were treated to a partial eclipse, in which the Moon just took a bite out of the side of the Sun's disc.

    On 23 November, there will be a total solar eclipse, but it will only be visible from Antarctica. A partial eclipse will be visible though, from parts of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.


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