The most amazing ring eclipse photo ever

This photo shows fine detail in the sun’s surface, surrounding the moon silhouette, during an annular or ring eclipse in 2010.

We’ve been looking at a lot of annular eclipse photos recently, as we’ve prepared information for you in advance of the May 20-21, 2012 China to Texas annular or ring eclipse. Here’s more about that upcoming eclipse, including how to find eclipse times for your location. This is the most amazing annular eclipse photo we found, by Mikael Svalgaard. It shows the annular eclipse or January 15, 2010.

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Photo of January 15, 2010 annular or ring eclipse. Mottling, or granulation, caused by heat convection in the sun’s atmosphere can be seen around the dark lunar disk. Credit & Copyright: Mikael Svalgaard: Mikael Svalgaard. Used with permission.

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In an annular or ring eclipse, the moon is too far away in its orbit around Earth to cover the sun completely. So, at mid-eclipse, the outer surface of the sun’s disk appears in an annulus or ring around the moon. Mikael Svalgaard took this photo through a telescope just before mid-eclipse on January 15, 2010. He used a filter that blocked most of the sun’s visible light, but still transmitted light from hydrogen atoms. As a result, detailed mottling, or granulation, caused by heat convection in the sun’s atmosphere can be seen around the dark lunar disk. Looking at this photo, can’t you must imagine the roiling surface of the sun?

By the way, the annular or ring eclipse of January 15, 2010 – depicted in Mikael’s photo – was the longest annular solar eclipse for the next 1,000 years. The annular phase lasted up to 11 minutes and 8 seconds.

This photo was the Astronomy Picture of the Day on January 22, 2010.

Watching a solar eclipse through special filters. You must have filters like these to watch the May 20-21 annular or ring eclipse, or risk damaging your eyes. Buy them here. Image via Dionne Bunsha.

Mikael Svalgaard told EarthSky:

The image was taken from Kanyakumari, India with a small (70mm, f/6) refractor. You can see my setup here.

Yes, there’s a lot of gaffa tape on the scope to hold the solar filter in place!

Some more information and pictures from Mikael from this memorable event are available here. Our thanks to you, Mikael, for sharing this great photo.

Annular eclipse of the sun – China to Texas – on May 20 or 21, 2012

Watch May 2012 solar eclipse at a National Park

EarthSky