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Solar eclipse 2012: All systems go for witnessing rare 'ring of fire' (+video)

A rare annular eclipse, where a ‘ring of fire’ outlines the moon as it crosses the sun, will greet US viewers Sunday evening. Residents of the US West will have a good shot at seeing the full fire ring.

The "ring of fire" eclipse will be visible from the western half of the country on Sunday.
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The last time an annular solar eclipse hovered above Los Angeles, in 1992, a “dumb cloud,” as one young skygazer said at the time, ruined the show. On Sunday, Angelenos will get another, hopefully much better, shot at witnessing at least part of a phenomenon where the face of the moon can’t quite block the sun, creating either a partial or complete halo in the sky.

Aside from some localized fog and cloud banks, weather forecasters are calling for mostly clear skies for a paintbrush stroke of the US that runs from Oregon to northern Texas, where locals will be able to see the full ring of fire as it appears on the US continental shelf for the first time in nearly 20 years. (Los Angeles is slightly south of the zone, meaning residents will instead see a crescent sun  – which is nothing to sneeze at, either.)

“Right now, it appears the majority of the territory in the zone of the annular eclipse … will be in good shape with two possible exceptions,” writes the Weather Channel’s Chris Dolce. “The tail end of a frontal boundary and an upslope wind flow could bring some isolated thunderstorms and cloud cover to eastern New Mexico and western Texas. Elsewhere, an approaching frontal system off the Northwest coast is likely to bring extensive cloud cover to southwest Oregon and far northwest California.”

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