May 20, 2012 The moon and the sun adorn the Bride with a ring of fire
For the last few weeks biblical prophecy students all over the world have been anticipating the coming of this day as a possible precursor to the Rapture. This year this annular solar eclipse falls on the celebration of the feast of Ascension. The church of Christ is the Bride of Christ and this wedding ring is the LORD’S engagement to His bride. Seven days from now is the feast of Pentecost where on the year 33 AD the church (bride) was born. It has now reached maturity and the groom may be coming for His bride seven days from today.
What a magnificent ring, one of fire and brilliant light formed by the heavenly bodies that sustain live on earth, the groom sure knows how to adorn the bride in celestial splendor.
Solar eclipse goes social and global
MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts reports that the western U.S. and eastern Asia are seeing a rare type of solar eclipse.
The sun, moon and Earth lined up today for a spectacular “Ring of Fire” annular eclipse that sparked social rites as ancient as Stonehenge and as modern as the Twitterverse.
Eclipse fans gathered in locales ranging from an astronomical observatory in Hong Kong, to the alien-hunting Allen Telescope Array in California, to the ancient Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico. But they gathered online as well, to share the wonders of the event via webcasts and chatrooms and Twitter feeds.
This event holds special significance for American skywatchers: It marks the first time in 18 years that an annular solar eclipse can be seen from the United States. Such eclipses occur when the moon is too far away in its elliptical orbit to cover the sun’s disk completely, as seen from Earth. As a result, a little ring of the sun remains visible around the moon’s dark disk, even at the height of the eclipse. (The term “annular” comes from “annulus,” a Latin word meaning “little ring.”)
Centuries ago, priests may have celebrated eclipses at Stonehenge with religious rites. But today, the residents of Redding, Calif., are celebrating with barbecue parties. “It’s become a very social event,” said Tim Young, a physics professor from the University of North Dakota who helped organize an eclipse webcast from Shasta College in Redding.
The event began in Asia, where the edge of the moon’s shadow touched down at dawn on Monday (on the other side of the International Date Line). The central part of the shadow, where the annular “Ring of Fire” effect was visible, started racing eastward along a roughly 200-mile-wide, 8,500-mile-long track. The annular phase can be seen from any one place along the track for just a few minutes. In contrast, the partial eclipse rises and recedes over the course of a couple of hours, and is visible from vantage points across a much wider swath of the world. (This NASA map provides the time schedule.)
Right now, the shadow is streaking across the Pacific: The first hints of a partial eclipse won’t show up on the U.S. West Coast until around 5 p.m. PT (6 p.m. MT, 7 p.m. CT, 8 p.m. ET). The annular phase is due to reach its peak for Americans after 9 p.m. ET, along a line stretching from the Oregon-California coast to around Lubbock, Texas.
See stunning images from past solar eclipses going back to the 1920s.
Would-be watchers heeded warnings about eye safety, and snapped up thousands upon thousands of eclipse-viewing glasses in the days leading up to the event. The University of Nevada at Reno reported that it sold 17,000 of the glasses at $2 each last week, and had to order 10,000 more. Young said he brought 600 of the special spectacles with him to Redding. His supply was quickly drawn down to less than 100. There was a run on welder’s glass as well, in Redding and elsewhere in the eclipse zone. ”It’s become a mad grab for resources,” he said.
Young, who has been involved in more than a dozen webcasts since 2004, said interest in today’s eclipse picked up surprisingly quickly. ”Three days ago, it was not that big a deal, but as the news started playing it up, people got excited,” he said.
The appeal isn’t all that surprising, however. Eclipse experts say the phenomenon touches something deep in the human psyche.
“This can get people to look up from their little anthill lives, and maybe get a sense of the bigger cosmic cycles that are going on all the time over our heads,” said Alan MacRobert, a senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine.
The experience can have a long-lasting effect, said Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the California-based SETI Institute who helped organize an eclipse-watching party at the Allen Telescope Array, 70 miles northeast of Redding.
“Eclipses are like potato chips, notable for the fact that in all recorded history nobody has eaten only one,” he joked. “Be warned.”
More about the eclipse: