These NASA photos of the sunrise solar eclipse of 2021 are just jaw-dropping

Most of the U.S. missed out on the “ring of fire” piece of year’s first solar eclipse on Thursday (June 10), but parts of the East Coast caught a stunning sunrise partial eclipse to make up for it.

The June 10 annular eclipse was mostly visible over Canada, Greenland and Siberia, plus a small sliver of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. But skywatchers in a much wider range were able to catch the eclipse in partial phases. In many areas, the partial eclipse aligned closely with sunrise, making for a particularly eerie spectacle.

Related: ‘Ring of fire’ solar eclipse 2021: See amazing photos from stargazers

Two of NASA’s staff photographers were on standby in the nation’s capital and in Delaware to catch the incredible site. Bill Ingalls took in the view from Arlington, Virginia, where he was able to capture views of the eclipsed sun rising next to the U.S. Capitol building.

Meanwhile, Aubrey Gemignani headed to Lewes Beach, Delaware, where she framed her eclipse photographs against the Delaware Breakwater Lighthouse.

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, but when our satellite is relatively far from Earth in its orbit, so it can’t block the full disk of the sun. The result is a so-called “ring of fire” around the moon’s dark circle.

Like a total solar eclipse, an annular solar eclipse is only visible from a small swath of Earth, although larger regions will be able to see the event as a partial solar eclipse. But without totality, no phase of an annular solar eclipse is safe to watch without eye protection, or to photograph without a proper solar filter.

The next solar eclipse will occur on Dec. 4, but totality will only be visible from Antarctica and nearby ocean.


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