First Solar Eclipse of 2014 Thrills Skywatchers in Australia (Photos)

The moon took a bite out of the sun in the first solar eclipse of the year on Tuesday (April 29), a celestial ballet visible from Australia that captivated stargazers despite cloudy weather.

Astronomer Jay Pasachoff of Williams College took this photo of the first solar eclipse of 2014 through clouds on April 29, 2014 while observing from Albany, Western Australia, where a partial eclipse was visible. (Image credit: Jay Pasachoff/Williams College)

Tuesday's solar eclipse was a "ring of fire" annular eclipse, but only for an uninhabited swath of Antarctica. For observers in Australia, the moon appeared to cover about 65 percent of the sun, resulting in a striking partial solar eclipse at sunset.

"I felt lucky to view and capture the eclipse this afternoon due to continuous partial cloud cover," photographer CJ Armitage told via email after snapping a spectacular view of the eclipsed setting sun. "Time seemed to stand still during the brief moments of visibility while I wanted in awe of this natural phenomenon. I hope the penguins of Antarctica enjoyed their view of the 'Ring of Fire.'" [Amazing Photos of the April 29 Solar Eclipse (Gallery)]

Photographer CJ Armitage of Brisbane, Australia captured this stunning view of the sunset solar eclipse on April 29, 2014 during the first solar eclipse of the year. A partial solar eclipse was visible from most of Australia during the event, with an annular solar eclipse occurring over a remote area in Antarctica. (Image credit: CJ Armitage)

Australian eclipse-chasers dealt with frustrating clouds that occasionally blocked views of the moon-sun rendezvous. The clouds did not stop U.S. astronomer Jay Pasachoff of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., who photographed the solar eclipse from Albany in Western Australia with a Nikon D610 camera and a 500 mm lens.

"Things went very well here," Pasachoff told via email. "Clear about half the time. Enough to see all the range of phases up to 65-percent [obscured]." Tuesday's sun show was the 59th solar eclipse observed by Pasachoff.

A live video feed from the Sydney Observatory in Sydney was quickly clouded out, though the U.S.-based Slooh community telescope did see much of the eclipse via a telescope view provided by Gerard Lazarus in Newcastle, Australia.

"The moon looks like a dark piece of coal," Slooh astronomer Bob Berman said during the group's webcast.

This view of the solar eclipse of April 29, 2014 was captured by astronomers with the Perth Observatory in Western Australia, where a partial eclipse was visible through heavy clouds during the annular solar eclipse. (Image credit: Perth Observatory)

The Perth Observatory in Western Australia also streamed live views of Tuesday's solar eclipse, with photographers located across Australia feeding striking views of the eclipse to the online Virtual Telescope Project in Ceccano, Italy.

"It's great to see that our collaborators are so willing to share their experiences with us, even under less than ideal weather," astrophysicist Gianluca Masi said during the Virtual Telescope Project webcast. "This is just fantastic."

Tuesday's eclipse of the sun was the first of two solar eclipses in 2014, with the second event occurring on Oct. 23. That October event will be visible primarily from Canada and the United States. Tuesday's event also came on the heels of a total lunar eclipse on April 15. The next moon eclipse will be a total lunar eclipse on Oct. 8.

Editor's Note: If you live along the visibility path and snapped an amazing picture of the April 29 solar eclipse, you can send photos, comments, and your name and location to managing editor Tariq Malik at

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.