The solar eclipse in 2012 will be visible on May 20 from half of the globe, starting with Asia, the Pacific Ocean, finishing with the Western American coast. This year’s eclipse will block about 94% of the sun, making it appear like a ring of fire.
It’s not often that we are given the opportunity to witness one of nature’s most refined works of art. This year, more precisely on May 20, the sky will turn dark for a few moments, just like in a cinema hall, in order to reveal to us one of the Universe’s most precious jewels: a ring of fire. The spectacular view is that of an annular eclipse –the moon is covering more that 90 percent of the sun, leaving only a fine shiny contour line to define it. The term “annular” has nothing to do with “annual”. It actually comes from Latin, meaning “ring” (the kind you put on your finger).
The annular eclipse is different from a total eclipse of the sun. Even though in both types of eclipses, the moon aligns with the sun and the Earth, in the annular eclipse the moon is near its apogee, which means it is in its farthest point from Earth. The effect is it will be perceived as smaller than usual and will not be able to completely cover the sun.
The annular eclipse will be seen from most part of the Asian continent, the Pacific Ocean and the West coast of America. However, the ring of fire will not be seen in Canada and some part of The United States. These areas will only witness a partial eclipse.
Ready for the show? Don’t forget your filter glasses!