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Annular solar eclipse transfixes crowds across the Americas

Annular solar eclipse transfixes crowds across the Americas

Thousands of people across the Americas gazed at the skies on Saturday to witness a rare phenomenon known as an annular solar eclipse, when the moon passes in front of the sun, momentarily producing the appearance of a "ring of fire" in the sky.

United States space agency NASA said the eclipse was following a path from the US Pacific Northwest over California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, crossing over parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia and Brazil before ending at sunset in the Atlantic Ocean.

"My favorite part was definitely the ring of fire. That's not something again you'll see every day. And it's going to be a long time before there's an opportunity again," said Lisa Ramsberger, 49, a tourist from Los Angeles.

"So just to be able to see the ring of fire, be here in this beautiful national park, and yeah, enjoy everybody experiencing it all together was awesome."

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun at a time when the moon is at or close to its farthest point from our planet. It does not completely obscure the face of the sun, unlike in a total solar eclipse.

Instead it creates the image of a brilliant ring on the outlines of the sun surrounding the dark disc of the moon.