Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2002 June 10
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Annular Eclipse: The Ring of Fire
Credit & Copyright: Dennis Mammana (Skyscapes)

Explanation: Today, a few lucky people will see a "ring of fire." That's a name for the central view of an annular eclipse of the Sun by the Moon. At the peak of this eclipse, the middle of the Sun will appear to be missing and the dark Moon will appear to be surrounded by the bright Sun. This will only be visible, however, from a path that crosses the Pacific Ocean. From most locations at most times, including most of eastern Asia and western North America, the Moon will only appear to take a bite out the Sun. In east Asia, the rising Sun will appear partially eclipsed on the morning of June 11. Simultaneously, in much of North America, the same eclipsed sun will appear to be setting on June 10. Remember to never look directly at the Sun even during an eclipse. An annular eclipse occurs instead of a total eclipse when the Moon is on the far part of its elliptical orbit around the Earth. The next annular eclipse of the Sun will take place in 2003 May, although a total eclipse will occur later this year in early December. Pictured above, a spectacular annular eclipse was photographed behind palm trees on 1992 January.

Tomorrow's picture: Eagle Workshop

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.