Millions look skyward for rare eclipse

The annular solar eclipse is observed early today in Tokyo, where it was broadcast live on TV. The eclipse later moved across the Pacific and was seen in parts of the western United States.

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The annular solar eclipse is observed early today in Tokyo, where it was broadcast live on TV. The eclipse later moved across the Pacific and was seen in parts of the western United States.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Millions in Asia and the western United States watched as a rare "ring of fire" eclipse crossed their skies.

The annular eclipse, in which the moon passes in front of the sun leaving only a golden ring around its edges, was visible to wide areas across Asia early today. It then moved across the Pacific and was also seen in parts of the western United States on Sunday afternoon.

Viewing parties were held in Reno, Nev., Oakland, Calif., and elsewhere. In some parts of the United States, special camera filters for taking photographs have been sold out for weeks in anticipation of the big event.

People from Colorado, Oklahoma and as far away as Canada traveled to Albuquerque to enjoy one of the best vantage points.

Members of the crowd smiled and cheered and children yelled with excitement as the moon crossed the sun and the blazing halo of light began to form. Eventually, the moon centered and covered 96 percent of the sun.

"That's got to be the prettiest thing I've ever seen," said Brent Veltri of Salida, Colo.

In Japan, "eclipse tours" were arranged at schools and parks, on pleasure boats and even private airplanes. Similar events were held in China and Taiwan as well, with skywatchers warned to protect their eyes.

The eclipse was broadcast live on TV in Tokyo, where such an eclipse hasn't been visible since 1839.

Millions look skyward for rare eclipse 05/20/12 [Last modified: Monday, May 21, 2012 1:03am]

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