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Ring of Fire Eclipse Passes Over Africa

A combination of pictures shows the beginning to the end (top L to bottom R) of an annular solar eclipse seen from a beach of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, September 1, 2016. REUTERS/Gilles Adt
Ring of Fire Eclipse Passes Over Africa
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People in parts of Africa witnessed a “ring of fire” in the sky Thursday, created by the moon passing between the Earth and the sun.

The solar event is called an annular eclipse.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon gets in the way of the sun and blocks its light. An annular eclipse happens when the moon does not completely block the sun, leaving a ring of sunlight around the moon.

For those who saw it, Thursday’s “ring of fire” eclipse appeared as red rings of sunlight shining around the moon’s dark shape.

Thursday’s eclipse began shortly after 06:00 UTC. It ended at about 12:00 UTC.

C. Alex Young is a solar astrophysicist with the American space agency NASA. He told the New York Times that much of the sun was blocked out. People who saw the eclipse saw circular shadows, he said. He called the shadows “kind of eerie.”

The event was the second solar eclipse of 2016. The first was a total eclipse, and took place in March. It was visible to people in Indonesia and other places in the Pacific.

Another annular solar eclipse will occur in February 2017. Next August, a total solar eclipse will be visible in the United States.

I’m Marsha James.

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Marsha James adapted this report for Learning English. Her story has information from an Associated Press report,, and the New York Times. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

occur v. to happen

astrophysicistn. the scientific study of physical and chemical properties and structures of stars, planets and other objects in outer space

visibleadj. able to be seen

eerieadj. strange and mysterious