‘Ring of fire’ eclipse appears over the Americas

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A rare celestial spectacle appeared over the Americas Saturday — the likes of which won’t be seen again in this part of the world until 2046.

Millions were within the path of the annular solar eclipse as it created a “ring of fire” in the sky over North, Central and South America.

During an annular solar eclipse, the moon is at the farthest point in its orbit from Earth, so it can’t completely block the sun. Instead, the sun’s fiery light surrounds the moon’s shadow, creating the so-called ring of fire.

The eclipse began in Oregon at 9:13 a.m. PT (12:13 p.m. ET). It is expected to end off the Atlantic coast of Brazil at 3:48 p.m. ET.

As it passed over city after city, the skies darkened as the moon moved in front of the sun, causing temperatures to drop.

Those outside of the path were also treated to a crescent-shaped partial solar eclipse, when it looks like the moon is taking a bite out of the sun.

A hot air balloon crew, sitting next to gondola, watches Saturday's eclipse at the 51st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico. - Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images
A hot air balloon crew, sitting next to gondola, watches Saturday's eclipse at the 51st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico. - Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

Little crescents were visible on the ground and reflecting off car windshields and skyscraper windows. For those standing by trees, the spaces between the leaves acted as pinholes and the light streaming through those gaps appeared as individual crescents.

And if you missed out on seeing this year’s annular eclipse, sky-gazers across North America are in for a treat on April 8, 2024 when a total solar eclipse will pass over Mexico, the United States and Canada. So hold onto your certified eclipse glasses, solar viewers and solar filters for your camera — you can use them again in April to safely view another scintillating event.

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