Tonight's Sky
Sun
Sun
Moon
Moon
Mercury
Mercury
Venus
Venus
Mars
Mars
Jupiter
Jupiter
Saturn
Saturn

Tonight's Sky — Change location

OR

Searching...

Tonight's Sky — Select location

Tonight's Sky — Enter coordinates

° '
° '

The blue beads of sunset

July 2012: These solar jewels might not be as rare as you think.
stephen_james_o_meara_new
One of the most anticipated phenomena immediately preceding the total phase of a solar eclipse is the sudden and remarkable appearance of Baily’s beads. About 15 seconds before the onset of totality, the Moon’s advancing limb (edge) starts to split the Sun’s slender crescent into drops of liquid sunshine — a result of our star’s light passing through valleys along the ragged lunar limb. What’s more, just before the “door” on the Sun slams shut and totality begins, it’s possible to catch ruby beads (glimpses of the middle stellar atmosphere, the chromosphere) mingling with the solar diamonds.

Astronomy magazine subscribers can read the full column for free. Just make sure you're registered with the website.

Already a subscriber? Register now!

Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on Astronomy.com, please log in below.
ADVERTISEMENT

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
BoxProductcovernov

Click here to receive a FREE e-Guide exclusively from Astronomy magazine.

Find us on Facebook

Loading...