By STEVE JASIECKI
If you were able to catch the sunrise Thursday, June 10, you were in for a rare treat.
You would have noticed a large chunk was taken out of the sun as it climbed out of the ocean and towards the sky. The sun looked more like the crescent moon than our familiar orange ball at sunrise. That’s because the sun was in a partial eclipse as it rose from the sea.
This particular eclipse is known as an annular eclipse. Unlike a total solar eclipse, an annular solar eclipse does not totally block the sun. Instead , it leaves a ring of light around the sun hence the term “annular” meaning ring shaped. Because the moon varies its distance from the Earth, the moon slightly changes in size. During an annular eclipse the moon is farther away in it’s orbit making it appear a little smaller. During a total solar eclipse, the moon is closer and will totally block out the sun, only leaving the corona to shine from behind the moon.
At this time of the year the humidity and cloud cover can conceal the sunrise. This was true for last Thursday. However, there was enough of a break in the clouds for the sun to shine through exposing itself for a brief period of time.
The path of an eclipse is very narrow. It ranges from about 62 to 160 miles wide depending on the distance the moon is from Earth. Where you are from that path determines what percentage of the sun the moon will eclipse.
For this eclipse, New Jersey was in a path of partial obscurity and that made for a very unusual sunrise. A thin sliver of sun peaked through the clouds minutes after the sunrise then ducked back behind the clouds. When it emerged again, the sun was higher and gaining back its round shape as the moon moved away from the sun.
Warning: Whenever photographing or observing the sun even through cloud cover, it is important to never look at the sun without proper solar filters.