A ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon that occurs when the moon’s orbit is at its apogee: the part of its orbit farthest away from the Earth. Because the moon is so far away, it seems smaller than normal to the human eye. The result is that the moon doesn’t entirely block out our view of the sun, but leaves an “annulus,” or ring of sunlight glowing around it. Hence the term “annular” eclipse rather than a “total” eclipse.
These stunning photographs, which look like a glorious late evening sky with dashes of pink and purple, are actually pictures of Japan’s largest wisteria (or wistaria, depending on whom you ask) plant.
This plant, located in Ashikaga Flower Park in Japan, is certainly not the largest in the world, but it still comes in at an impressive 1,990 square meters (or half an acre) and dates back to around 1870 (the largest, at about 4,000 square meters, is the wisteria vine in Sierra Madre, California). Although wisterias can look like trees, they’re actually vines. Because its vines have the potential to get very heavy, this plant’s entire structure is held up on steel supports, allowing visitors to walk below its canopy and bask in the pink and purple light cast by its beautiful hanging blossoms.
Image credits: Takao Tsushima
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