Photos of Sunday’s Annular Eclipse: The Ring of Fire
It Came From Outer Space
As many of you have no doubt gathered, The Mary Sue is a blog based on the east coast of the United States, and a such we are all very jealous of the western US and Pacific areas who got treated to a gorgeous annular eclipse this weekend. What’s an annular eclipse? Well, it’s a certain kind of solar eclipse, i.e., one where the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, and casts its shadow on the Earth’s surface. Now, the Moon is way, way smaller than the Sun, and even though it’s also way, way closer to the Earth than the Sun, it still takes a lot of celestial synergy to get that rarest of eclipses: the full solar eclipse. More often, we get partial solar eclipses. An annular eclipse is one where the moon passes fully between the Sun and Earth, with the entirety of its disc covering our view of the Sun… but not our entire view of the sun. The Moon still appears smaller than the Sun in the sky, and so at the peak of its coverage, it is outlined on all sides by the Sun, appearing as a dark disc on the face of the star, surrounded by a ring of fire.
Okay, I admit it, I’ve never managed to actually remember how pin-hole projectors for eclipse viewing work for more than five minutes after it is explained to me. So I can’t explain how the light from an eclipse, seen through the shadows of some leaves, could do stuff like this. But I know it’s cool.
Apparently, collanders also work: