The Ring of Fire

Posted by on May 20, 2012 | 0 comments

Big happenings in the astronomical world today. At 3:00 p.m. PDT today, we had what’s known as an “Annular Eclipse”. Basically, the moon passes between Earth and the sun. Unique to this year, the moon is at its apogee – the farthest point in its orbit away from the earth. This means it doesn’t completely blot out the sun – instead it sort of sits inside and leaves what astronomers call a “Ring of Fire” showing on the outside.

This is pretty exciting stuff for me, my being something of an amateur astronomer and all. Naturally, I didn’t want to let this uncommon event go undocumented – especially since many of my friends live on the U.S. east coast where they won’t be able to see the eclipse at all. I would effectively be their west coast “eyex”.

So I hauled out my camera complete with sun filters – DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME. I pointed it at the sun – or at least the spot where the sun was supposed to be. You see, here in Seattle, we’ve got these things called clouds. They’re big, gray fluffy things. They roll in sometime in October and, except for rare breaks, they don’t leave until June. Today – like most days in May – it’s cloudy.

Not to be deterred, I decided to take some photos anyway and post them on my blog so I could share them with you. Boy am I glad I did.

Here’s a photo of the sun before the eclipse.

Before the Eclipse

Next, I waited until the eclipse peaked at 3 p.m. local time and then I took this stunner – right at the height of the eclipse:

Height of the Eclipse

How about that ring of fire!
After the eclipse, I took another shot, just for reference:

After the Eclipse

I’m glad I was able to bring these to you. I really enjoy astronomy in the Pacific Northwest!

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