Baily's Beads Sequence at Second and Third Contacts - 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

In the last several seconds before the total eclipse begins, the crescent Sun breaks into a series of dazzlingly bright beads. They shrink and disappear as totality begins. When totality ends, the bright beads reappear along the edge of the Moon and quickly merge to become the crescent Sun.

The beads are formed by sunlight shinning through deep valleys along the irregular limb of the Moon. Francis Baily (Wikipedia) first described this effect after the annular eclipse of 1836. They are known as Baily's Beads in his honor.

The image above is a time sequence shot at 2 frames per second to capture the formation of Baily's Beads at both second and third contact (i.e., as totality begins and ends). The bright red arc along the edge of the Moon is the Sun's chromosphere (Wikipedia) (a thin layer that sits just above the solar photosphere). Several large solar prominences (Wikipedia) are also visible.

This image is available as a Custom Print.

Additional eclipse photos can be seen at: 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery.

For more information on this event, see: EclipseWise 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.

Technical Details



2017 Eclipse Links

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery

Custom Prints of 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

EclipseWise 2017 Total Solar Eclipse



Books about the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse


Eclipse Bulletin:
Total Solar Eclipse of 2017


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Road Atlas for the
Total Solar Eclipse of 2017


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Totality - Great
American Eclipses
of 2017 and 2024


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Get Eclipsed


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More Eclipse Books at Astropixels Publishing