Annular Eclipse of the Sun

A Near-Perfect New Moon

May 10, 1994


On May 10, 1994, the Moon passed between the Earth and the Sun, allowing those in central North America to witness a solar eclipse. View the panel from right to left, the individual images showing the Moon moving from west to east in its orbit relative to the Sun. The lunar orbit is somewhat elliptical, and the day before the eclipse, it had passed its apogee, where it is 5.5 percent farther from the Earth than average, causing the Moon's angular diameter to be slightly less than that of the Sun. The result was an annular eclipse in which the uncovered part of the Sun appeared as an "annulus," or ring, around the nearly perfect new Moon. Photo and panel courtesy of Mark Killion.
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