'Ring of Fire' eclipse visible in West on Sunday

1:30 PM, May 17, 2012   |    comments
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  • Google map from NASA showing path of best viewing (between blue lines) of solar eclipse on Sunday, May 20, 2012.
  • Solar eclipse, Jan. 15, 2010, photo from ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Millions of people in the western United States and some parts of Asia will get to witness the sun transform into a ring of fire.

The event is an annular solar eclipse. It occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun, blocking everything but a bright ring of light.

Early risers in parts of China, Taiwan and Japan may catch a glimpse, weather permitting, around dawn on Monday.

The eclipse will be visible Sunday afternoon over parts of Oregon, Northern California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Much of the rest of the country will see a partial solar eclipse, but the East Coast will miss out. Some three dozen national parks in the eclipse path are planning special events.

MAP: Line of visibility of the eclipse

This type of solar eclipse has not been visible in the U.S. since 1994.

The Associated Press

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