Derek Meche Photo

Annular Solar Eclipse 2012

A so-called annular solar eclipse, which took place on May 20, was seen across the globe

from late afternoon to early evening, beginning in East Asia and traveling across to the western United States. In an annular solar eclipse, the moon does not completely block the sun, but leaves a fiery ring around its circumference. Observers along a narrow path were well placed to see the full annular solar eclipse, but skywatchers elsewhere (with the exception of the U.S. East Coast) caught a stunning partial eclipse. At its peak, the moon covered roughly 94 percent of the sun’s light. The eclipse was first visible in East Asia before crossing the northern Pacific Ocean and putting on a show for skywatchers in the western and central United States. Skywatcher Sam Border snapped stunning pictures of the eclipsed setting sun from Blue Grass, Iowa. The crescent-shaped sun is visible above dark treetops, casting warm, orange light in all directions. Further west, skywatchers in Arizona also enjoyed the rare view. In Boulder, Colo., astronomers at the University of Colorado hosted what they called the world’s largest solar eclipse viewing party. The event attracted some 13,000 skywatchers, who spied the eclipse through the clouds. Casey Cass, a photographer for the University of Colorado, snapped photos of the crowd as they gazed up at the sun using special solar eclipse glasses. Skywatcher Derek Meche saw the eclipse from Lafayette, La. Only part of the eclipse was visible, he said, but he took several photos with his Nikon D90 camera. Meche’s images show the moon taking a bite out of the orange sun against the evening sky.