A rare hybrid solar eclipse occurred early Sunday morning.
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The solar eclipse on Sunday was a 'hybrid' because it started out as an annular solar eclipse and transitions into a total solar eclipse.
An annular solar eclipse is when the moon is too small in the sky to cover the entire disk of the sun.
On Sunday morning, according to Sky & Telescope, the solar eclipse switched from annular to total because of the way the shadow moves across the curvature of the Earth.
"The shadow's footprint is moving closer to the Moon due to Earth's curvature. So the appearance switches to and remains a total eclipse." says Sky & Telescope contributor Kelly Beatty.
A total solar eclipse is when the shadow of the moon completely blocks out the disk of the sun. Only the corona, the fiery outer layer of the sun can be seen around the disk of the moon.
The moon and sun must be in perfect alignment, with the moon just the right distance from the Earth to block the entire disk of the sun.
The below image is NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day.
On the right is the annular solar eclipse. On the left is the total solar eclipse.
Fred Expenak snapped the image of the total solar eclipse (left) from a ship in the Pacific Ocean.
Stephan Heinsius captured the image on the right from Penonome Airfield in Panama.
In the annular solar eclipse photo (right) the dramatic ring of fire from the sun peeking out behind the moon can be seen.
NASA crunched the numbers and says "during the 21st century just 3.1% (7 out of 224) of solar eclipses are hybrid while hybrids comprise about 5% of all solar eclipses over the period 2000 BC to AD 3000."
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