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Dots or patches of sunlight visible along the edge of the darkened moon's disk in the seconds before and after totality during a full solar eclipse, caused by sunlight passing through valleys in the moon's uneven topography.
[After Francis Baily (1774-1844), British astronomer who first observed them in 1836.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Astronomy) the brilliant points of sunlight that appear briefly around the moon, just before and after a total eclipse
[C19: named after Francis Baily (died 1844), English astronomer who described them]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
Bai′ly's beads′(ˈbeɪ liz)
spots of sunlight encircling the moon immediately before and after a total solar eclipse.
[1865–70; after Francis Baily (1774–1844), English astronomer]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.