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article imageVideo: Australia treated to 'Ring of Fire' solar eclipse

By Anne Sewell     May 10, 2013 in Science
People in northern Australia experienced a real treat late on Thursday when they witnessed a rare annular solar eclipse, or "Ring of Fire."
This type of eclipse occurs when the Moon is farther from the Earth than normal, making its comparative size smaller than the Sun's size, leaving a thin "ring of fire" in the sky.
The eclipse was visible across a 71- to 225-kilometer area, which included Australia, eastern Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and the Gilbert Islands. Elsewhere in the region residents witnessed a partial eclipse.
Stargazer Geoff Sims told AFP, "It was my first time I had seen an annular eclipse. I thought it was spectacular. I was actually amazed at how beautiful it was," after he captured photos of the eclipse from a remote spot in Western Australia.
"It (the Sun) came up in a complete golden ring. Just phenomenal," he added.
Sim was standing 150 kilometers (93 miles) south of Newman in Western Australia's Pilbara region. He told AFP that the moment he saw the Moon pass in front of the Sun, it was as if it was dancing.
"It is dancing because the Moon pivots around the edge of the Sun," he said.
Geoffrey Wyatt of the Sydney Observatory said, "Partial solar eclipses, they are not common."
"The next total solar eclipse that we get to see in Sydney is in July 2028, so that's a long way off," he added.
Astronomy professor at Williams College in Massachusetts, Jay Pasachoff, traveled to Australia to view his 57th solar eclipse. He said that the moment was magical:
"The color of the light changes in an eerie fashion, and you sense that something very strange and weird and wonderful is going on."
RT News has some spectacular photos of the eclipse.
This spectacular event comes only months after Australia witnessed a total solar eclipse in November 2012.
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