Millions of people from the Eastern US all the way to Russia and China via Europe were treated to a solar eclipse today, June 10. A thin strip across Canada, Greenland, the Arctic, and Russia was lucky enough to witness an annular eclipse, also known as a "ring of fire", where the Moon covers the solar disk but a sliver of Sun remains peeking out behind it.
Pictures of the eclipse are slowly pouring in, with some fantastic sights from across the world, although pesky clouds have foiled many people’s attempts at viewing it. However, if you missed it, here are some of the prettiest shots we have seen.
In the US, the eclipse started before dawn so there were some gorgeous views of the crescent red Sun as it rose in the east.
While the region traced by the path of totality is not as populous as previous eclipses, there have been some great shots of the full event, like this one with the Sun mostly obscured.
ln this one from Iqaluit, the capital city of Nunavut, the Moon covered as much of the Sun as it possibly could in this syzygy, the alignment of three cosmic bodies in a single line.
The ring of fire effect is due to the relative position of the Moon in its orbit around the Earth. The orbit is not circular but elliptical, so there are times that the Moon is quite a bit further away, making it appear smaller from Earth. When an eclipse occurs when the Moon is further away (the apogee), you get the ring of fire instead of the total eclipse.
The orbit of the Moon is also inclined compared to Earth's orbit around the Sun, so there is not an eclipse every month. We need the planet, Moon, and star to be in a syzygy, and that happens at predictable intervals. The math to calculate them is not easy but many ancient civilizations worked it out. Today we can easily search online for when the next one will be, but as a last resort, you can always check if Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart is suddenly going up in music hit lists, which is almost as predictable as the eclipses themselves,