“Ring of Fire” — Capturing Last Week’s Solar Eclipse

Wow. What exactly are we looking at here?

The event is known as an annular eclipse, when the moon moves directly between the Earth and the sun, producing a striking ring of fire effect. During annular eclipses, the new moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than the visible disk of the sun.

Since the moon’s orbit is elliptical, its distance from Earth changes periodically. During an annular eclipse, the moon is farther from Earth, so its apparent size is smaller than the solar disk.

Today’s annular eclipse first appeared over Western Australia at sunrise and swept across portions of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, before crossing much of the Pacific Ocean.

Creator Colin Legg describes the process:

This video captures the sunrise annular solar eclipse from 3 locations in the Pilbara, Western Australia, May 10, 2013.

Cameras were placed at the south west, north west limits and centreline. 3 Canon 5DmkII + 800 mm timelapse at each location and Canon 1DC + 2000 mm 4K video in the north.

Bonus (and beautiful) visual documentation of the event is available from National Geographic, which also provided me with that helpful summary. And here’s a bit of bonus music. (Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the video title. Truly. Besides, it’s awesome. I also thought of this, but I’m not sure I’m willing to admit that publicly just yet.)

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