solar eclipse

Stunning Sunrise Photos Show ‘Devil Horns' During Solar Eclipse

The right time, the right spot and the right phenomenon landed one photographer a photo set of a lifetime

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Photographer and amateur astronomer Elias Chasiotis was in place to watch Dec. 26's annular solar eclipse when he captured stunning photos of a sunrise that resembled red devil horns.

Chasiotis, who knew the eclipse would be visible from Qatar at sunrise, flew to the coastal city of Al Wakrah from Athens to capture the "ring of fire" rising from the sea.

"I was so anxious because the sky was hazy and there was scattered, thin cloudiness," Chasiotis told NBC. "Finally, the sun rose from the sea in two pieces."

The "pieces," sporting flared bases as a result of an inferior mirage, resembled horns.

The sun, partially blocked by the moon, rises above the sea in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Dec. 26, 2019.
Courtesy Elias Chasiotis
The sun, partially blocked by the moon, rises above the sea in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Dec. 26, 2019.

A mirage effect caused by light bent by warm air within the Earth's atmosphere is known as the Etruscan Vase effect, according to NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day, so-called because of the resemblance to the flared base of the vase. It was the result he had waited for.

"The sight was magical," Chasiotis said. "I was thrilled!"

The sun, partially blocked by the moon, rises above the sea in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Dec. 26, 2019. Facebook and Twitter users were quick to draw comparisons between the reddened partial eclipse to "devil horns."
Courtesy Elias Chasiotis
Chasiotis, who has observed solar and lunar eclipses since he was a teenager, said he made the trip from Athens to try to catch the eclipse rising from the sea.
The sun, partially blocked by the moon, rises above the sea in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Dec. 26, 2019. Facebook and Twitter users were quick to draw comparisons between the reddened partial eclipse to "devil horns."
Courtesy Elias Casiotis
Warm air in the atmosphere bends light to create an inferior mirage called the Etruscan Vase effect, which could be seen during sunrises and sunsets.
The sun, partially blocked by the moon, rises above the sea in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Dec. 26, 2019. Facebook and Twitter users were quick to draw comparisons between the reddened partial eclipse to "devil horns."
Courtesy Elias Chasiotis
NASA's "Astronomy Picture of the Day" blog featured his photos two days later.

"The annular phase was to follow in some minutes, but unfortunately the sun was hidden behind the clouds," he said. "The main parts was missed, but this sunrise was the most stunning sunrise I have ever seen."

Minutes later, he captured another perfectly timed photo – a golden curve arching above a flying plane.

An annular solar eclipse, partially hidden by clouds, as seen in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Dec. 26, 2019.
Courtesy Elias Chasiotis
An annular solar eclipse, partially hidden by clouds, as seen in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Dec. 26, 2019.

2020 will see two solar eclipses: an annular eclipse will be visible across eastern Africa and southern Asia on June 21 and a total eclipse will be visible in the southern tip of Chile and Argentina on Dec. 14.

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