A total eclipse of the sun is one of those rare celestial events that you can go an entire lifetime without seeing, which would be a shame because they’re spectacular.
Observers on the Faroe Islands and Svalbard — an island off the coast of Norway — were some of the lucky few who saw this year’s only total solar eclipse, which took place Friday morning. People on the Faroe Islands caught some amazing footage of the event, shown below.
The alignment between the Earth, moon, and sun, as well as the moon’s size makes it so that only a very small portion of our planet can actually see a total solar eclipse. (More people, like observers in Europe and North Africa, saw part of Friday’s eclipse, when the moon covers only a chunk of the sun, instead of all of it.)
The BBC recently uploaded the amazing footage of Friday’s eclipse as seen from Faroe Islands. It includes a perfect example of what is known as the diamond ring effect. This happens a split-second before totality, when the moon completely eclipses the sun. Check it out below:
The outline of the moon is not smooth because it has mountains and craters on its surface. As a result, when the moon passes in front of the sun, bright beads of light shine through the grooves.
As the moon edges closer to totality, the beads disappear one-by-one until there’s only one bead left, which shines like a diamond ring in the sky. This is known as the diamond ring effect.
During totality, the narrator of the video points out a possible solar prominence peaking out of the moon’s shadow in the image below. The sun’s surface is very active, constantly emitting massive bursts of gas and energy in the form of what experts call a solar prominence.
Because of their massive size, which can be tens to hundreds of times larger than Earth, we can sometimes see them towering above the sun’s surface during an eclipse, like the one on Friday.
The bright ring of white light, surrounding the moon’s shadow in the image above, is the sun’s outer-most atmosphere, called the corona.
The corona extends millions of miles beyond the solar surface and into outer space. Normally we can’t see the corona because the sun is so bright during the day, but a solar eclipse easily fixes that.
Check out the full video of Friday’s eclipse, uploaded by the BBC to YouTube, below:
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