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Rare `ring of fire` solar eclipse to grace Sunday sky

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 18:13

Washington: A partial solar eclipse, which will see the moon completely block out the sun except for a ‘ring of fire’ around the moon’s edge, is set to offer a spectacular site for observers on May 20.

Skywatchers in East Asia and the western United States will be able to witness the spectacular ``Ring of fire`` in sky, CBS news reported.

The event known as an annular solar eclipse originating from the Latin "annulus," meaning "little ring” should be visible in its full glory from much of Asia, the Pacific region and some of western North America, provided the weather stays clear.

At its peak, the eclipse will block out about 94 percent of the sun`s light.

However, the other parts of the United States and Canada will be able to see only a partial solar eclipse, without being treated to the ring of fire effect.

The East Coast will miss the event since the sun will have set before the eclipse begins.

The eclipse will occur in the late afternoon or early evening of May 20 throughout the continent of North America while in Asia the date gets switched to May 21.

Solar eclipses occur when the moon comes in between the Earth and the sun, casting a shadow on our planet. When the moon lines up perfectly with the sun and blots out all of its light it results into a total eclipse.

Annular eclipses are similar to total eclipses in that the moon lines up with the sun.

Like other types of solar eclipses, annular eclipses are spectacular but a potentially hazardous sky watching events.

Care must be taken while observing them otherwise it can cause serious and permanent eye damage including blindness.

To safely observe the May 20 annular eclipse, special solar filters can be bought to fit over the equipment or No. 14 welder`s glass to wear over the eyes.

However the safest and simplest technique is perhaps to watch the eclipse indirectly with the solar projection method.

This technique uses projects a magnified image of the sun`s disk onto a shaded white piece of cardboard.

The image on the cardboard will be thus is safe to view and photograph.


First Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 15:18

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