Ring of fire

An unusual partial “ring of fire” eclipse thrilled people in the Pacific region from Japan to the US. AFP photo

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A partial solar eclipse as seen during sunrise in the coastal town of Gumaca, Quezon province, southeast of Manila. Thousands turned their eyes to the sky on both sides of the Pacific to gaze excitedly as a partial eclipse occluded the sun at dawn in Asia. AFP

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Ring of fire

"It was awesome. At first .. at the bottom it looked like someone ate it, but then after I waited a little while it started to get closer to looking kinda like (a) ring" schoolboy Marcos Doporto told an Albuquerque, New Mexico television reporter yesterday.

Marcos was talking about yesterday's "ring of fire" solar eclipse that crossed the Pacific from Asia to the United States.

Yesterday's eclipse was particularly exciting because it was an annular eclipse. This occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun, but is too far from the Earth to block it out completely, leaving the "ring of fire" visible.

The luckiest viewers in Asia were likely those in the Tokyo area of Japan. They got a spectacular sight as the sprawling Japanese capital of 30 million people received its first glimpse of the phenomenon in 173 years.

Japan's major television stations cut live to the once-in-a-lifetime event, which generated a mini-boom in spending on special tour packages and viewing glasses. Japan Airlines arranged a sold-out observation flight.
Electronics giant Panasonic sent an expedition to the top of Mount Fuji, Japan's highest mountain at 3,776 meters, to film the phenomenon using solar-powered equipment.

Ring-tailed lemurs look on as children view a solar eclipse at the Japan Monkey Centre in Inuyama city, central Japan. — AFP photo

One Japanese zoo reported that the eclipse sent a group of about 20 ring-tailed lemurs into a frenzy, as they were fooled into thinking it was nighttime.
The lemurs at the Japan Monkey Centre in central Aichi prefecture jumped up and down wildly. "This is a behavior that they usually take in the evening, so that they raise their body temperature," said zoo director Akira Kato.
Elsewhere in Asia, clouds across much of southeastern China prevented a clear view.

In Hong Kong, a few thousand optimistic early birds gathered on the Victoria Harbour waterfront hoping to catch a glimpse of the spectacle, but heavy cloud cover gave them only a brief window of less than a minute.

Adapted from an AFP story.

partial – in part, but not complete บางส่วน
solar – involving the sun เกี่ยวกับดวงอาทิตย์
(solar) eclipse – when the sun disappears from view, either completely or partly, while the moon is moving between it and the Earth สุริยุปราคา  ( a lunar eclipse is when the moon disappears from view)
coastal – of an area of land beside the sea  แนวชายฝั่งทะเล
gaze – to look at something or someone for a long time, especially in surprise, admiration or because you are thinking about something else มองดู, เพ่งมอง,จ้องมอง
occlude – to cover or block something  ปิด, อุด
dawn – the beginning of the day, when it begins to get light รุ่งอรุณ, เช้าตรู่
awesome – extremely good ดีเยี่ยม
reporter – someone whose job is to write articles or make broadcasts about events in the news ผู้สื่อข่าว, นักข่าว
particularly – especially, or more than usual โดยเฉพาะ
occur – to happen เกิดขึ้น
visible – able to be seen ที่มองเห็นได้
spectacular - very exciting to look at น่าตื่นเต้น
sprawling – built over a wide area in a way that is not carefully planned
capital – the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from  เมืองหลวง
glimpse – a quick look กวาดตามองอย่างรวดเร็ว ดูอย่างคร่าวๆ
phenomenon – something that exists and can be seen, felt, tasted, etc., especially something which is unusual or interesting ปรากฏการณ์
live – happening now, i.e., not recorded earlier ถ่ายทอดสด
generate – to produce ก่อให้เกิด
boom – a sudden increase in trade and economic activity; a period of wealth and success ความเจริญรุ่งเรืองทางเศรษฐกิจ
arrange – to plan or organize something in advance จัดเตรียม,  เตรียมการ
observation – the process of watching someone or something carefully, in order to find something out การสังเกต
expedition – an organized journey with a particular purpose; a short trip that you make when you want or need something  การเดินทาง
frenzy –uncontrolled and excited behaviour or emotion, which is sometimes violent ความบ้าคลั่ง, ความตื่นเต้นมาก, ความบ้าระห่ำ
prefecture – an area of local government in some countries, for example France, Italy and Japan อำเภอ
behaviour – the way that someone acts or behaves พฤติกรรม, การกระทำตัว
temperature – a measurement of how hot or how cold a place, person or object is อุณหภูมิ
optimistic – expecting good things to happen or to be successful มองโลกในแง่ดี
early bird – people who do something earlier than most other people
gather – to come together in a group รวมกลุ่ม, รวมตัวกัน
waterfront – a part of a town or an area that is next to water, for example in a harbour  ริมฝั่ง, เขตริมน้ำ, เขตริมฝั่ง
spectacle – an unusual or surprising sight or situation that attracts a lot of attention ภาพที่น่าตื่นเต้น, ปรากฎการณ์
window – a time when there is an opportunity to do something, although it may not last long โอกาส, จังหวะ, ช่อง

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Writer: Terry Fredrickson
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