Dark side of the Sun
Tuesday 22 May 2012
From the California coast to the top of Mount Fuji in Japan, the effect was dramatic: the Moon nearly blotting out the Sun to create a blazing "ring of fire" eclipse. Millions of people across a narrow strip of east Asia and the western US turned their sights skyward for an annular eclipse, which occurs when the Moon is at its farthest from Earth and does not block out the Sun completely, leaving only a golden ring around its edges.
The rare lunar-solar alignment was visible in Asia on Monday before it moved across the Pacific – and the international dateline – where it was seen across parts of the American West on Sunday afternoon.
People from as far away as Canada travelled to Albuquerque in New Mexico to enjoy one of the best vantage points at a park on the edge of the city. The crowd cheered and yelled with excitement as the Moon crossed the Sun and a blazing halo of light began to form.
Some watched the eclipse by placing viewing glasses on the front of their smartphones. Eventually, the Moon centred and covered about 96 per cent of the Sun. "That's got to be the prettiest thing I've ever seen," said Brent Veltri, from Colorado.
"Eclipse tours" were arranged in Japan, with Tokyo residents seeing their first eclipse since 1839.
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