- spots of light that appear to encircle the moon, resembling a string of luminous beads, visible immediately before and after a total eclipse, caused by the sun’s light shining between the mountains on the moon’s surface.
- the brilliant points of sunlight that appear briefly around the moon, just before and after a total eclipse
- A discontinuous, beadlike pattern of sunlight visible along the edge of the darkened Moon’s disk in the seconds before and after totality during a full solar eclipse. The pattern is caused by light shining through the uneven lunar topography silhouetted along the curved edges of the disk. Baily’s beads are named after British astronomer Francis Baily (1774-1844), who first observed them in 1836.