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Rare ‘Ring of Fire’ Eclipse to be Visible from North America

Get out your calendar and make a big exclamation point on May 20.

That’s when an annular solar eclipse will turn the sun into a ring of fire.

This is the first solar eclipse visible from the United States in about 18 years, according to NASA. We’ve had our share of lunar eclipses in recent years, but solar eclipses happen when the moon passes in front of the sun, obscuring it from view.

The “ring of fire” effect will be visible as far north as Medford, Oregon and as far south as Lubbock, Texas. Throughout the zone –called the “path of annularity” – sky watchers will see the sun transformed into a a bright doughnut-like object.

The rest of the country west of the Mississippi (including Seattle) will witness a partial eclipse. That’s when the sun appears to be crescent-shaped as the moon passes by off-center.

NASA wants to remind you that this is not a total eclipse — when the moon entirely obscures the sun from view. The next total eclipse visible from the US happens in 2017. (Again, mark your calendar.)

…(Seattlepi)

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February 2, 2012 - Posted by | Science, Solar, Space | , , , ,

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