'Ring of Fire' eclipse enthralls skywatchers in Middle East, Asia

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on December 26, 2019 - Duration: 02:06s

'Ring of Fire' eclipse enthralls skywatchers in Middle East, Asia

A rare annular eclipse drew crowds astronomers, tourists, and devotees to witness the solar phenomenon across a broad swath of the globe.

Zachary Goelman reports.


'Ring of Fire' eclipse enthralls skywatchers in Middle East, Asia

Observers call it the "ring of fire." It's a rare annular solar eclipse where the moon covers the sun's center but leaves its outer edges visible, forming a glowing ring in the sky.

And it was visible on Thursday (December 26) along a stretch of the planet earth from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia.

Albert Ho is the president of the Astronomical Society of Singapore.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF SINGAPORE, ALBERT HO, SAYING: "This will be the first of only two annular eclipses visible from Singapore for the rest of the century.

So in the sense, it's a very rare event for us.

Because eclipse, like, total eclipse and annular eclipse, can only be seen within a very narrow path on the earth, call the path of totality or path of annularity, depending on the case." Students at Colombo University in Sri Lanka set up telescopes to watch.

On a beach in Karachi, Pakistan, people suffering from illnesses buried themselves in the sand with hopes that the solar eclipse would help them heal.

This boy traveled from Dubai to Abu Dhabi for the full experience.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) INDIAN RESIDENT OF DUBAI, VICK, SAYING: "Even though, I knew it was going to be a partial eclipse in Dubai, I think I wanted to come here only to witness this once of a life time moment, and it looks so amazing while you see it.

It's like it's completely covered." Even experienced skywatchers were awed by this one.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) GERMAN RESIDENT OF DUBAI, DIRK GORDONSTEIN, SAYING: "Normally, when the sun is fully covered, it gets dark like early in the morning, and this, you just slightly saw when the moon was fully covering and the ring was amazing, like, yeah." Astronomers, tourists, and curious residents gathered on the sand dunes of Jabal Arba, in Saudi Arabia, before sunrise.

(SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) TOTAH ALNAEEM, ECLIPSE WATCHER, SAYING: "I came because this is an event that takes place nearly every 100 year and I didn't want to miss it.

Thank God, who granted me the ability to see it, and It can only be seen with a specific kind of glasses and I've got them." As our planet completes another full rotation around the sun, Thursday's solar eclipse reminds us how connected those of us on Earth can sometimes feel.

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