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May 21, 2012 Permalink

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)
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