Millions witnessed a rare celestial event early Monday in Asia. As the moon and the sun aligned over the earth, an annular solar eclipse dimmed the sky forming a Pacific "ring of fire".

The golden ring around the moon could be seen throughout the continent providing a visual treat.

It directly passed over Tokyo and it will be visible in certain western parts of the US.

Eclipse tours were arranged in many schools, parks and on pleasure boats across Japan.

"It was a very mysterious sight - I've never seen anything like it," the BBC quoted Kaori Sasaki, who joined a crowd in central Tokyo as saying.

Similar events were organised in China and in Taiwan too.

In western United States, thousands of viewers thronged Utah to witness the rare event.

"The wonder of it, the sheer coincidence that this can happen, that totally amazes me. It never ceases to amaze me," a physics professor at Southern Utah University, Brent Sorensen, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Although solar eclipses occur often, annular solar eclipse occurs only when the moon is at the farthest point from earth which means it will be closer to the sun.

This enables the moon to block much of the larger sun and in turn provides a spectacular phenomenon forming a ring around the moon.

While explaining the phenomenon, Nasa chief Jeffery Newmark said: "It's like moving your fist in front of your eyes. You can block out the view of a whole mountain. It's the same kind of effect," reported Reuters.

Scientists and commoners are equally wonderstruck by the sight of the ring formed around the moon.

"It's amazing. We do this for the awe [and] it has not disappointed. I am awed, literally floored," Sky News quoted an astronomical hobbyist Garry Andreassen.

"That's got to be the prettiest thing I've ever seen," BBC quoted and eager sky watcher Brend Veltri as saying.

The eclipse began in Asia and moved across to the western parts of the US. Parts of East Asia and North America were also able to witness the event partially.

Apart from today's Melbourne Cup, another reason for jetsetters, kibitzers, stargazers and what nots to pack their bags and travel to Australia is the highly-anticipated total solar eclipse on November 14, an hour after sunrise (afternoon of Tuesday, November 13, in the United States).Reuters
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The moon passes between the sun and the earth during a solar eclipse seen from Victory Park in PasadenaReuters
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Are you a solar eclipse watcher fanatic who wants to see this year's celestial phenomenon in Australia but unfortunately can't fly to Down Under because of varied seasons? There's still good news for you because Slooh Space Camera will broadcast a free, real-time feed of the stunning total solar eclipse live from Cairns, Australia.Reuters
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A dog is seen wearing a solar viewer during an annular solar eclipse at a temporary shelter for evacuees from last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster, in Koriyama, Fukushima prefectureReuters