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Amazing ring of fire eclipse this morning: Here’s a 40-second recap

solar eclipse 2016
A partial solar eclipse as seen from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Thursday.
(Legnan Koula / EPA)

Did you sleep through Thursday morning’s “ring of fire” solar eclipse? 

No problem! The intrepid sky watchers at Slooh.com decamped to southern Africa to take this 40-second time lapse video of the moon passing between the Earth and the sun.

The eclipse began at 6:13 a.m. local local time, or 11:13 p.m. Wednesday Pacific time, when the moon first began to obscure the face of the sun.

The moment of greatest eclipse — when 97% of the sun’s disk was covered by the moon — occurred at 9:08 a.m. local time, or 2:08 a.m. Pacific time. 

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The whole dance of the heavenly bodies took about 10 hours from beginning to end, but below you can see it happen in fast motion.

You’ll note that the moon never entirely obscures the face of the sun. That’s because the moon’s elliptical orbit means it is not always equidistant from the Earth. Right now, it is a little farther away, and that means it looks smaller, and does not quite cover the sun’s disk. 

The next total solar eclipse will occur on Aug. 21, 2017, and it will be visible across the United States

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You definitely don’t want to sleep through that one. 

deborah.netburn@latimes.com

Do you love science? I do! Follow me @DeborahNetburn and “like” Los Angeles Times Science & Health on Facebook.

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