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Eclipse on Sunday displays 'ring of fire'

May 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
For the first time since 1994, Asia and the western United States were treated to a rare solar spectacle when the moon slid across the sun, creating a "ring of fire."

The partial eclipse in Southern California started about 5:24 p.m. Sunday.

For 3 1/2 hours, the eclipse followed an 8,500-mile path with the ring-of-fire phenomenon lasting as long as 5 minutes, depending on where it was being seen from.

The Griffith Observatory said it was excited about the eclipse. It held a free viewing party in the afternoon.

In Japan, "eclipse tours" were arranged at schools and parks, on pleasure boats and even private airplanes. Similar events were held in China and Taiwan as well, with skywatchers warned to protect their eyes. The eclipse was broadcast live on TV in Tokyo, where such an eclipse hasn't been visible since 1839.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.