This intriguing picture, created by Antonis Farmakopoulos from Greece, shows a composite image of both Diamond Rings from last years’ total solar eclipse from Indonesia.
A total solar eclipse occurs about once a year and is one of natures most incredible phenomena to witness. It occurs when the moon completely covers the Sun for a few minutes, as it orbits Earth. As luck would have it, the Sun is 400 times larger, but 400 times further away than the Moon.
While we have a New Moon every month, the inclined orbit of the Moon means that it does not pass in front of the Sun each time. Sometimes when it does pass in front of the Moon and we only have an Annular eclipse. This occurs because the Moons orbit is not circular, so the distance to Earth varies, and when the distance is too great, the outer ring of the Sun can be seen, as the Moon is not close enough to us to cover it fully.
Last year on the 9th of March a total eclipse passed over South East Asia, and in Antonis’ photo, he captured the inner Solar Corona, the Chromosphere and a large Prominence, just as the last rays of the Sun were passing through the valleys on the Moon prior to a totality lasting just over 4 minutes.
The next Total Solar Eclipse is only a few months away, passing across the entire USA from Oregon to South Carolina on the 21st of August. To view the event, you need to be within the 100Km wide shadow, as it races across the land up to 4000 Km per hour.