By Marie DeFreitas
Contributing Writer Telegraph Local
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On Thursday watchers from the Middle Asia all the way to Asia were enthralled by an annular eclipse. The event took place on a thin band of the earth. The phenomenon, given the name ‘ring of fire’ occurs when the moon blocks out all but a very thin sliver of the sun, creating that forey ring. The eclipse began began in Saudi Arabia and ended northeast of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.
An annular eclipse occurs when the moon is too far away from Earth to block the entire sun during an eclipse.
The eclipse began in the early morning hours Oman, in the Middle east. Photographs show the sun being block as it rose above the Gulf of Oman. Many photographers from all over rushed to capture the phenomenon.
The sun was much higher in the sky when the eclipse began in the far east. For this reason millions of people had to used protective eyewear to watch the event. There was roughly a 73 million mile wide central path of the eclipse, but people outside of this area were still able to view the eclipse. According to NPR, “even through light clouds, the bright halo effect was striking.”
The path if the eclipse started in Saudi arabia and then passed over Oman, southern India and Sri Lanka. The event crossed over to Singapore and Indonesia. The eclipse then began to curve to the northeast, over the Northern Mariana Islands.
The event longest duration occurred while it was over Singapore and Indonesia. It was here that eclipse obscured more than 90% of the sun and lasted for over three minutes. The total length if the eclipse from start to finished was about 3.5 hours long.
NPR’s Sushmita Pathal reported from Mumbai to NPR’s newcast unit about the anticipation and apprehension the event set off. She says:
“One Indian state announced a public holiday and many Hindu temples across the country were closed. Some faithful believe an eclipse is a bad omen and advise against eating or going out when it’s happening. To counter superstitions, one pro-science group in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru gathered on the steps of the city’s town hall for breakfast during the eclipse.”
The last solar eclipse was on July 2, and was almost only visible over South America.
According to NASA, the next annular eclipse will occur on June 21 2020. This will take place over central Africa, southeast Asia and China. However, that eclipse will be quite short, with its greatest duration lasting only about 60 seconds. The next one after that will take place in December and will only be visible from South America and Antarctica.