NASA releases 'ring of fire' eclipse video



Eat your heart out, Johnny Cash.

In this breathtaking short video captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on Sept. 1, the Earth and moon are seen crossing the sun to create a “ring of fire” eclipse.

“Earth completely eclipsed the sun from SDO’s perspective just as the moon began its journey across the face of the sun. The end of the Earth eclipse happened just in time for SDO to catch the final stages of the lunar transit,” wrote NASA on its website.

NASA added that the lineup of Earth, the moon and the sun resulted in a simultaneous eclipse that was visible from southern Africa. In addition to being called “ring of fire” the eclipse is also called an “annular” eclipse. The event is similar to a total solar eclipse, “except it happens when the moon is at a point in its orbit farther from Earth than average. The increased distance causes the moon’s apparent size to be smaller, so it doesn't block the entire face of the sun. This leaves a bright, narrow ring of the solar surface visible, looking much like a ring of fire,” wrote NASA.

NASA noted that viewers can distinguish the Earth and the moon’s shadows in the video based on their edges. “Earth’s is fuzzy, while the moon’s is sharp and distinct. This is because Earth’s atmosphere absorbs some of the sun’s light, creating an ill-defined edge. On the other hand, the moon has no atmosphere, producing a crisp horizon,” wrote NASA.