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Millions Watch Ring of Fire Solar Eclipse Worldwide as Moon Devours Sun (Photos)

Millions witnessed the annular solar eclipse on May 20, 2012, as the moon edged in front of the sun for a few breathtaking minutes at sunset.
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Eclipse glasses flew off shelves, people flocked to eclipse viewing parties, and others watched online. The annular solar eclipse of 2012 wowed millions with its spectacular ring of fire that did not disappoint.

About 6.6 million people live along the path that the eclipse took in the U.S., many of them American Indians, the most traditional of whom did not partake in the taboo experience of eclipse-gazing. Those who did look up, build a pinhole camera or even interlaced their fingers to view the reflection of the quirky, crescent-shaped shadows on the ground were awed as the moon blocked out up to 94 percent of the sun’s light for a good four minutes, according to

While many on the Navajo Nation did not view the eclipse because of its reputation as a bad omen, viewing parties were held in places like Denver, Colorado, where thousands gathered in Folsom Field to don filtered glasses and look skyward, and in national parks all across the western U.S. On some parts of the Navajo Nation, viewing sites were closed, while others let people set up their telescopes, and those who were less traditional and interested in science either watched the event itself or took in a presentation by Melba Martin, an educator and amateur archeoastronomer who serves as a liaison for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the Navajo reservation.

Millions elsewhere were treated to a partial eclipse, in which the sun was turned into a crescent by the moon, the sight hovering just above the horizon at sunset in a stunning display. Below, a time-lapse view of the eclipse as taken in a series of 700 pictures by photographer Cory Poole.

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This is how the eclipse looked in real time, from Japan—where lemurs reportedly went into a frenzy thinking night had fallen, according to Agence France-Presse.