Athens-based photographer Elias Chasiotis was visiting Qatar in late December 2019 when he captured a photo of an annular eclipse that has since gone viral. Taken at sunrise as a part of a series, the image shows the moon covering the center of a red sun. The timing of the photograph turns the crimson star into curved horns emerging from the horizon.
A self-identified astrophotographer and amateur astronomer, Chasiotis tells Colossal that the conditions were hazy on the morning of December 26 when the photographs were taken. The haze gave the sun its red glow, but as NASA astronomer explained on the Astronomy Picture of the Day blog, the Earth’s atmosphere helped create the full image: “The dark circle near the top of the atmospherically-reddened Sun is the Moon — but so is the dark peak just below it. This is because along the way, the Earth’s atmosphere had an inversion layer of unusually warm air which acted like a gigantic lens and created a second image.”
Chasiotis continued to photograph the eclipse as the sun rose, writing on Facebook that the “annular phase was blocked by clouds, but the red crescent sunrise was the most awesome sunrise I’ve ever seen!”