Feature photos: Solar eclipse

2012-05-21T08:26:00Z 2012-05-21T13:25:54Z Feature photos: Solar eclipseThe Associated Press The Associated Press
May 21, 2012 8:26 am  • 

Skywatchers in the western U.S. and Asia don special glasses to see the moon pass in front of the sun, creating a dramatic halo of light.

Millions of people across a narrow strip of eastern Asia and the Western U.S. turned their sights skyward for the annular eclipse, in which the moon passes in front of the sun leaving only a golden ring around its edges.

The rare lunar-solar alignment was visible in Asia early Monday before it moved across the Pacific — and the international dateline — where it was seen in parts of the western United States late Sunday afternoon.

The eclipse followed a narrow 8,500-mile path for 3 1/2 hours. The ring phenomenon lasted about five minutes, depending on location. People outside the narrow band for prime viewing saw a partial eclipse.

"Ring of Fire" eclipses are not as dramatic as a total eclipse, when the disc of the sun is entirely blocked by the moon. The moon is too far from Earth and appears too small in the sky to blot out the sun completely.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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