When an eclipse occurs in the sky, you want to be in the right place at the right time. These are very rare astronomical occurrences that happen every so often. Sometimes you might only get one shot to gaze upon these rare spectacles. Depending on the kind of eclipse, it can sometimes take another 100 years to see it again. The sunrise eclipse in Qatar that took place on a Thursday in December 2019 is known as an annular eclipse.
You might recall the total solar eclipse we had back in 2017. Dubbed the “Great American Eclipse“ because all of America could see it from any state in the country. Everybody came outside to look up into the sky to witness this astronomical phenomena. Of course, you will need a special pair of eclipse glasses as to not make yourself blind from staring at the sun.
Qatar’s Annular Sunrise Eclipse
The last time a sunrise eclipse occurred was over one and a half centuries ago. To give you an idea as to how special this particular moment was: Onlookers could see what seemed like two different moons rising with the sun on the horizon. This is due to a collaborative effort with the earth’s atmosphere and an inversion layer of unusually warm air. The warm air essentially acted as a giant lens and projected two images of the moon. At first, the eclipse looked like two red horns rising over the sea. Then gradually moving more toward the sky revealing a stunning red crescent behind the clouds. (1)
The term for this astronomic optical effect is known as the Etruscan vase effect. However, some people were able to witness a total annular sunrise eclipse. They captured photos of the ‘ring of fire’ in the sky as the moon was surrounded by a ring from the sun behind it. It’s extremely rare to witness two kinds of an eclipse in one instance.
There are four different kinds of eclipses: total, partial, annular, and hybrid. As we mentioned before, you need a special pair of glasses that’s able to filter the harmful rays of sunlight. Before you do any kind of eclipse gazing, you must protect your eyes while you do so. (2)
Luckily for the people of Qatar, just last June they were able to witness a partial sunrise eclipse in Doha. This time the moon was able to cover about 80% of the sun. Lasting for about 2 hours and 48 minutes, people were able to view the beautiful anomaly in the sky. (3)
Being In The Right Place At The Right Time
Some people like to believe that photography is an easy trait to get into. However, most photographers know what it takes to capture once-in-a-lifetime moments such as these astronomical events. There have been some other incredible siting’s over the years that photographers were able to capture. Take this stunning ‘accidental’ photo of a green meteor entering the atmosphere in 2015.
“I was there, and that’s what photography is all about—being there in the right place at the right time,” Yadav claims.
This meteor had just burned up at the right moment as the photographer took a shot of the city below. Famous photographer, Prasanjeet Yadav, was capturing the beauty of Mettupalayam in Coimbatore, South India when this shot was taken. Camping and actually asleep for this moment, the time lapse shots in his camera captured this incredible photo. Setting the time lapse to take 15-second exposures every 10 seconds. It was pure luck that Yadav’s equipment was taking a 15-second exposure when this meteor streaked across the sky.
“This is definitely one of the most memorable shots I have ever taken and also the first image that National Geographic published back in 2016,” Yadav writes. “The green Meteor’s greenish color comes from a combination of the heating of oxygen around the meteor and the mix of minerals ignited as the rock enters Earth’s atmosphere.” (4)
Other Unbelievable Candid Shots
Of course, being able to capture astronomical events on accident is really impressive. There are talented photographers that have captured the beauty of nature in other ways. In May 2019, Canadian photographer, Steve Biro, caught this very rare bald eagle photo. This photo is perfect in so many ways even if it isn’t a giant green meteor hurdling from space. The fact that this picture is so symmetrical and natural makes it absolutely stunning.
Again, captured at just the right moment as the bald eagle is gliding across the water. You can see the tip of the bird’s wings dipping into the water as its reflection is perfectly visible and parallel to the eagle. It almost looks like the shape of the reflection and the physical bird forms an eyeball-like shape. It’s even more impressive that Biro was able to capture a photo with the bald eagle looking directly at the camera during midflight.
It just goes to show that we need to give these photographers all the credit they deserve. Without these rare moments with nature, people might not even know what kind of beauty lies out there!
- “Astronomy Picture of the Day.” APOD. Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP). December 28, 2019.
- “‘Ring of Fire’ Solar Eclipse Thrills Skywatchers Around the World (and in Space, Too!).” Space. Tariq Malik. December 26, 2019
- “Qatar to witness partial solar eclipse on June 21.” Gulf Times. June 14, 2020.
- “Serendipity: Photographer Captures Once-In-A-Lifetime Meteor By Accident.” Science Times. April 30, 2020.