diamond ring effect

Ernie Sisto (NY Times), Rare views of solar eclipse, 30/06/1954, Flying as a pool photographer with the American Airlines - Hayden Planetarium Eclipse Expedition, United States. Vintage silver print (Press Photo)

Here are two phases of rarely seen phenomena that occur during a total eclipse as seen from 13,000 feet this morning above Rupert House, James Bay, Canada. At top are Bailey’s Beads, when the light of the sun peeps through periphery “diamond ring” effect at end of totality.


The Diamond Ring Effect

The Baily’s beads effect is a feature of total solar eclipses.

As the moon “grazes” by the Sun during a solar eclipse, the rugged lunar limb topography allows beads of sunlight to shine through in some places, and not in others. The name is in honor of Francis Baily who first provided an exact explanation of the phenomenon in 1836. The diamond ring effect is seen when only one bead is left; a shining diamond set in a bright ring around the lunar silhouette.


Two different diamond rings…

The ring effect us traditionally ascribed to the last moments before the solar orb disappears behind the moon during a total eclipse, as portrayed in the second photo, but the first image shows the same effect around our terrestrial globe, snapped from the International Space Station as it orbits its 16 daily times around the radius of our planet, with the equivalent number of sunrises and sunsets. The sun is glinting around the darkened planetary sphere, with the glimmer of blue atmosphere standing in for the shank of the ring, rather than the hot and brilliant solar corona shining around the full moon’s shadow.


Image credit: Earthring: Scott Kelly/NASA. Solring: kubotake