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What Does A Solar Eclipse Look Like?

Solar eclipses don’t happen every day and even when they do occur, only certain areas get the desirable view of the moon passing perfectly in front of the sun and turning daytime into night. If you are not within that path of totality, you may only see the sun partially obscured, or nothing at all.

These images show what a partial and total solar eclipse looks like for those who are going to miss out or those who want to be mentally prepared for what they are about to witness.

Buy you a diamond ring

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The Hinode satellite captures the “diamond ring” of a total solar eclipse in 2009. Photo: NASA/JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hinode satellite took this image of the moon passing in front of the sun during a total solar eclipse on July 22, 2009. On Earth, this view was available in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, China and Japan, according to NASA.

Just passing through

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A March 2016 solar eclipse partially obscures the sun in the sky over Indonesia. Photo: Ridwan Arifiandi; Creative Commons license CC BY-NC 2.0

Total solar eclipses take a lot of the spotlight, but partial solar eclipses are intense as well. This one took place in March 2016, as seen here from the city South Tangerang, in Indonesia. South Tangerang is on the island of Java, and the path of totality for this eclipse passed through neighboring islands to the north and northeast: Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi, as well as some of the Maluku archipelago.

Read: Why Don’t Solar Eclipses Happen All the Time?

A little sketchy

This sketch shows a total solar eclipse in 1806. Photo: José Joaquin de Ferrer/NASA

Before photographs, the only way to document a solar eclipse without using words was by hand. This sketch shows the view of a total solar eclipse on June 16, 1806. During that eclipse, the path of totality went diagonally through the United States from the southwest to the northeast…

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