Solar Eclipse: Ring of Fire Crosses Asia, Western U.S.

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An astonishing solar eclipse, in which the moon and sun align in a rare celestial moment, darkened the Asia-Pacific region and cast a beautiful golden "ring of fire" in the sky, captivating much of the planet Sunday and early Monday.

The shadow of the moon swept across the globe from Hong Kong all the way to the Texas Panhandle as the eclipse path traversed the Pacific Ocean.

Here is the view from Tokyo, Japan, on Monday morning:

Solar Eclipse Photo

The sun appeared as a thin ring behind the moon to people in a narrow path along the center of the eclipse track, which began in southern China.

The ring occurred because the moon's orbit - an ellipse and not a perfect circle - has taken our lunar satellite farther away from Earth than usual.

In other solar eclipses, the sun is completely obscured.

Events were held at schools and museums across the world, while many more took in the unusual event at home, on mountains or on the street.

After it whizzed across the Pacific, the shadow emerged over northern California and southern Oregon. Check out some more images of it below:

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