One of the most stunning events takes place when the Moon partially hides our view of the Sun, creating a ring of star fire on its edges. On June 21st of this year, that is exactly what we’ll be able to witness in the skies.
The phenomenon is known as an annular solar eclipse, and it takes place when the Moon is farthest away from Earth in its spin, which makes it appear smaller in the sky in relativity to the Sun. The difference in size is what creates annular eclipses apart from full solar eclipses when the closer position of the Moon – whose average distance is 1,800 kilometers (1118 miles) – makes it seem to have a similar size as the Sun, which has a radius of about 696,000 kilometers (432,000 miles).
A ‘Ring of Fire’
A gorgeous and unusual instance of this event was spotted by photographer Colin Legg and astronomy student Geoff Sims in Western Australia in May 2013.
In this case, the ring of fire is also twisted by our planet‘s atmosphere, pressing the incredibly synchronized Moon and Sun as they rise until they get above the level of high refraction. This weekend, a complete ‘ring of fire’ is expected to be seen from central Africa and through Asia, appearing at 03:45 UTC on June 21st of this year.
Numerous other locations, such as southeastern Europe and the northern areas of Australia, will experience a partial annular eclipse. The shadow moving across the image below showcases where a partial eclipse will be visible, and the moving dot indicates the line of totality or the trajectory along which the annular eclipse will last the longest.
If you are planning to watch the event, you can find more detailed maps for each location of the globe at Time and Date.
Where to Watch the Event
NASA said you can be hundreds of miles from the line of totality and still be able to witness the phenomena, only if the skies are clear enough. Sadly, due to the restrictions still continuing all over the world when it comes to travel, eclipse enthusiasts will probably miss the possibility to enjoy this one from an ideal place. However, we’re sure there will be numerous captures taken by those who will be able to see the spectacular view, which will then be shared with the world.
There will be a few planned live streams so everyone can witness the phenomena as it takes place, such as the one scheduled by Time and Date or the Virtual Telescope Project, which will begin to broadcast the event at 05:30 UTC (10:30 p.m. PT Saturday night) on June 21st, 2020.
“It’s only two minutes, but it’s so intense that you talk about it with your friends, family for the next month,” said geophysicist Alexander Alin, who observed the event that took place last year in person.