The last eclipse of the decade is taking place in the sky above a roughly 73-mile-wide path running across the Middle East and South Asia.
The celestial event is dubbed a “ring of fire” eclipse for the amazing pattern it creates. Here’s what is actually happening: The moon is passing in front of the sun while at its furthest distance from Earth in its elliptical orbit, making it small enough in the sky that it doesn’t totally obscure the sun as it crosses it. Instead, it leaves a thin blazing ring—a spectacular sight topped only by the images of the people watching it.
Photographers captured the watching crowds as the eclipse unfolded above Saudi Arabia, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and elsewhere. The images, like eclipses themselves, are an occasional reminder that all of us look out from the same general vantage point, even if our particular views vary. For a few moments as objects in space line up just right, we are united in our desire to look up and see past the limits of our little planet—while wearing funny glasses, of course. (Please, protect your eyes.)
First, because we know you want to see it, here’s the eclipse itself over Indonesia.
And now, here’s what it looked like if you were just in it for the people watching, which is also a pretty fantastic sight as everyone—different ages, religions, and more—shared in the same curiosity, albeit at different times. Depending on location, some saw the eclipse on Dec. 25, and some on Dec. 26.
Men and women accessorized their headwear with protective glasses.
A class of students, a roadside vendor carrying on with work, and a Hindu priest—opting for exposed x-ray film to shield his eyes—all watched the eclipse.
Whether they had the authorized glasses or not, people found a way to watch. This man in Pakistan used welding glasses.
Of course if you can find one pair of glasses big enough for everyone, that works too, like it did for these kids in Bangkok.
Young and old alike cast their eyes up for a glimpse.
However different the world’s inhabitants may be on most days, they all like a good eclipse.