People throughout the Americas, North and South, observed a rare celestial event known as an annular solar eclipse, during which the moon temporarily aligns with the sun, creating the illusion of a luminous “ring of fire” in the sky.
What Is An Annular Solar Eclipse?
An annular solar eclipse takes place when the moon comes between the Earth and the sun, particularly when the moon is positioned at or near its farthest distance from our planet.
Unlike during a total solar eclipse, it doesn’t entirely block the sun’s surface. Instead, it crafts the striking vision of a “fire ring” encircling the dark silhouette of the moon against the sun’s backdrop.
Where Was The ‘Ring Of Fire’ Visible?
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According to the United States space agency NASA, the trajectory of the eclipse extended from the Pacific Northwest of the US, tracing a route over picturesque landscapes including California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
The eclipse further journeyed across various parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, and Brazil before gracefully concluding at dusk over the Atlantic Ocean.
When Did The Solar Eclipse Occur?
The rare solar eclipse flared up yesterday across the US and South America on Saturday, October 14.
Why Is It Called The ‘Ring Of Fire?’
During an annular solar eclipse, the moon, positioned at a greater distance from Earth, doesn’t fully mask the sun, creating the striking impression of a dark disk juxtaposed against the sun’s expansive, radiant surface.
Because of this, the eclipse showcases a momentary visual spectacle like a luminous ring encircling the moon’s shadow. Looking ahead, a total solar eclipse is scheduled for April 8, 2024, over Mexico, the United States, and Canada, promising another captivating celestial event for eager spectators to anticipate.
How Did People Witness The Eclipse?
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Experts had warned that looking directly at the bright sun without using specialised eye protection designed for solar viewing could pose a risk of eye injury. Given that the sun is never completely obscured during an annular solar eclipse, it was emphasised that gazing at it without appropriate eye protection was unsafe.
These experts cautioned that using a camera lens, binoculars, or telescope without a special-purpose solar filter could result in severe eye injury. They had strongly advised using safe solar viewing glasses or a secure handheld solar viewer throughout the annular solar eclipse, stressing that regular sunglasses were not suitable for observing the sun safely.
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