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The Sun and Moon offer much of the eastern hemisphere a nice holiday treat tomorrow: a solar eclipse. The Moon will pass directly across the face of the Sun. Along a narrow path, that’ll create a brilliant “ring of fire.” Outside that path, it’ll be a partial eclipse.
This is called an annular eclipse. The Moon won’t completely block the Sun. Instead, it’ll leave a thin ring of sunlight around the Moon.
One reason is that Earth is near its closest point to the Sun now, so the Sun is a slightly larger target than average. As a result, the Moon is not quite big enough to cover the Sun’s disk. At most, it’ll cover 94 percent of the Sun. The exposed ring of sunlight is still too bright to look at. But enough of the Sun will be covered to make the sky look dusky, and to drop the temperature by several degrees.
The eclipse gets under way this evening on American clocks, but at sunrise on the 26th for the eastern hemisphere.
The path of the annular eclipse will be about 75 miles wide. The eclipse will begin over the Arabian Peninsula, cross the southern tip of India, and pass over the city of Singapore. The only American territory to see it will be the island of Guam, in the western Pacific Ocean, near the end of the eclipse.
Most of Asia and half of Australia will see a partial eclipse — the Moon will cover part of the Sun. And those of us in the western hemisphere can catch it on the web — a ring of fire in eastern skies.
Script by Damond Benningfield