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Rare 'Ring of Fire' solar eclipse seen in Beijing

(People's Daily Online)

09:54, May 21, 2012

(People's Daily Online/Weng Qiyu)

Edited and translated by Huang Beibei, People's Daily Online

Skywatchers in China are in for a rare celestial treat today when the moon blots out most of the sun to create dazzling "ring of fire" solar eclipse.

The eclipse today is known as an annular solar eclipse. Annular eclipses only occur when the moon is at a point in its orbit that is too far from Earth to completely block the sun's disk. The result is a ring-like, or annulus, effect that will be visible to observers lucky enough to be in the path of the eclipse's shadow.

People should not peer up at the sky to view the solar event without special viewing equipment. Looking at the sun with the naked eye can cause blindness.

Today's 'Ring of Fire' solar eclipse is the first of its kind to be widely visible from much of China since January 15, 2010 and Chinese skywatchers will have to wait until June 21, 2020 to see this again.

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