Across most of North America on Thursday afternoon, folks blessed with clear skies could enjoy a beautiful partial solar eclipse. A lot of them seem to have taken pictures.
As the Earth, moon, and sun aligned, the moon's dark silhouette slowly covered part of the sun during the event. This offered amazing photographic opportunities to capture the cosmic game of hide-and-seek. (Related: "Partial Solar Eclipse Graces Skies on Thursday.")
Peekaboo through the clouds—this was the view of the eclipse from Bellingham, Washington:
The entire show took only a few hours to unfold, as the shadow of the moon crept across part of the sun's disk. At its greatest extent, the moon covered as much as 81 percent of the sun, a darkening seen in northern Canada.
Such partial solar eclipses happen when Earth crosses only through the faint outer part of the moon's shadow, known as the penumbra.
By contrast, during a total eclipse the sun is completely blotted out by the moon as its dark, central shadow, called the umbra, falls in a very narrow strip along Earth's surface.
In southern California, above Joshua Tree National Park, a solar-filtered close-up of the partially eclipsed sun reveals some of its larger sunspots:
While the western part of the continent saw a deeper eclipse unfold during the mid-afternoon, with the sun dominating the overhead sky, those in the east were rewarded with a sunset eclipse.
Charleston, West Virginia, for example, had enough breaks in the cloud cover at sunset to soak in some of those rays:
A plane comes in for a landing in front of the 44-percent-eclipsed sun visible from Mississauga, Ontario:
From Missouri the sunset eclipse was particularly spectacular as it descended behind hills:
Back out West a time-lapse composite image of the moon taking a nibble out of the sun above Huntington Beach, California, was breathtaking:
Finally, what a great way to end the day with a picnic near Tampa, Florida:
So if you are now all psyched about eclipses or just missed this week's solar disappearing act, your next chance in North America will be on August 21, 2017, when the path of the total solar eclipse will run from South Carolina through Oregon.
I can't wait!