The Diamond Ring Effect Is Beautiful, But You Shouldn't Stare

Excited for the August 21 eclipse? Visit our Eclipse 2017 page to explore the science, history, and myths of the event. The Curiosity team will be viewing the eclipse alongside NASA in Carbondale, Illinois. Follow us on Facebook for live videos, trivia, and interviews on the big day.

As the sun disappears behind the moon during a solar eclipse, its photosphere continues to shine past the uneven points on the moon's surface. This results in "pearls" of light around the moon's edge, known as Baily's beads. When the sun is almost entirely covered, the diamond ring effect occurs. Totality refers to the span of time when the sun is completely blocked out. During this period, the solar corona—the sun's outer atmosphere—can be seen shining around the moon.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. An eclipse occurs when an object passes into the shadow of another object, darkening or blocking it. 00:51

  2. The totality of a solar eclipse can last up to 8 minutes. 04:14

  3. Anyone on Earth (facing the moon) can see a lunar eclipse when it occurs, but only a certain section of the world can see a solar eclipse. 06:54

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