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A Breathtaking ‘Ring of Fire’ Solar Eclipse is Happening this Weekend

This weekend, a rare “Ring of Fire” solar eclipse will be visible in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

On June 21, people in certain parts of the Eastern Hemisphere will be able to view the eclipse. It will be visible over central Africa, the southern Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, Northern India, and South Central China, Young said. A partial eclipse will be seen over most of Asia, Africa, South and East Europe, northern Australia and parts of the Pacific and Indian Oceans

An annular solar eclipse happens when the moon is too far away from us to completely hide the sun, leaving a circle of brightness around the moon. That is how it gets the poetic “ring of fire” nickname.

“Annular eclipses are similar to total eclipses in that the moon, Earth and sun are aligned so that the moon moves directly in front of the Sun as viewed from Earth,” said Alex Young, Associate Director for Science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

“But a total eclipse does not happen, that is the moon does not completely block out the visible disk of the sun because the moon is farther away and so its apparent size in the sky is [slightly] smaller than the sun. This means that a tiny ring of annulus of the solar disk is visible around the moon,” he added.

The full annular eclipse will be visible from parts of Africa and Asia. “A narrow stripe from Africa to the Pacific Ocean will see the Moon in front of the Sun (blocking 99.4% of the Sun at its peak in northern India) such that only a bright ring is visible,” NASA said in a skywatching update for June

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic circumstances with restricted travel, hardcore eclipse chasers will probably have to sit this one out. But we’re certain those lucky enough to be along the line of totality will take the opportunity to capture the spectacular view and share it with the rest of us.

Several groups have planned live streams so we all can witness the event as it happens, including Time and Date and the Virtual Telescope Project, which will begin broadcasting from 0530 UTC, 21 June 2020 (10:30 pm PT Saturday night).