Get Ready…for the Ring of Fire!

Later today, a solar eclipse will block out a large portion of the sun. For people in East Asia and the western U.S., this will appear as a strange “Ring of Fire.” People in the middle of the U.S. as well as in Canada will see a partial eclipse, but will miss out on the Ring of Fire. Unfortunately, those of you on the East Coast will miss out entirely since the sun will set before the eclipse takes place.

 The Ring of Fire?

Eclipses are documented throughout history. Some were viewed with fear and consternation. For example, sometime between 2128 BC and 2134 BC, the Chinese Emperor Zhong supposedly beheaded two astrologers named Hsi and Ho for failing to foresee an eclipse. Other eclipses were viewed with awe. One example of this is the eclipse predicted by Thales of Miletus in 585 BC. Supposedly, this brought about an end to the war between the Medians and the Lydians.

Check out’s eclipse skywatching guide for good viewing locations as well as times. And enjoy!

Where was the Sun Born?

So, where exactly did that giant yellow orb in the sky we know as the sun originate?

Was the Sun Born in Messier 67? Or Somewhere Else?

Until recently, scientists suspected the sun came from Messier 67, a gigantic star cluster roughly 2.6 to 2.9 light years away from Earth. But new 3-D simulations appear to have thrown that theory into the dustbin of history, leaving the sun’s origin a mystery once more. Here’s more on the sun’s origin from National Geographic:

New 3-D computer simulations have delivered a crushing blow to the strongest contender for our sun‘s birthplace, astronomers say, returning the quest for the solar system‘s origins to square one.

Stars like the sun typically form in clusters with other stars. Many clusters are spread out so that the stars drift apart, but others are denser, and gravity keeps their stars close together.

The sun now stands alone, so astronomers think our star—and its newborn solar system—was either ejected from its birth cluster or drifted away from its siblings about 4.5 billion years ago…

(See the rest on the sun’s mysterious origin at National Geographic)