This Sunday, June 21, stargazers in the Eastern Hemisphere will be treated to an annular solar eclipse immediately after the summer solstice. This type of eclipse is characterised by a stunning “ring of fire” since it is not a total eclipse and the edges of the Sun remain visible around the Moon.
When and where to see the Ring of Fire solar eclipse:
Annular eclipses are similar to total eclipses in that the Moon, Earth and Sun are aligned
The annular eclipse will kick-off at 5.47am BST (12.47am ET) on June 21 and cross a narrow path.
The eclipse will start at sunrise in Africa and drift across to China, before ending at sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
The eclipse event will peak at 7.40am BST (2.40am ET) and finish at approximately 9.32am BST (4:32am ET).
Partial eclipsing, visible on either side of the eclipse’s trajectory, will begin at 4.45am BST (11:45pm ET) on June 20 and end at 10.34am BST (5.34am ET) on Sunday.
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Astronomers recommend checking sites such as timeanddate.com for more exact eclipse times in your area.
The eclipse will be visible to stargazers in the Eastern Hemisphere.
This means people in central Africa, the southern Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, Northern India and South Central China are in for a chance of spotting the rare event.
A partial eclipse may be seen over most of Asia, Africa, South and East Europe, northern Australia and parts of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
However, actually spotting the eclipse will depend on whether the skies will be clear.
The entire eclipse will last approximately 3.75 hours.
However, the duration as it passes over individual locations will equal to around a minute and a half.
During the peak, this will actually shorten to just over 30 seconds.
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Dr Alex Young, associate director for science in the heliophysics science division at NASA, revealed what causes this type of solar eclipse.
He said: “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.
“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.”
How to watch the Ring of Fire solar eclipse:
Although Sunday’s event is not a more spectacular total solar eclipse, amateur astronomers still need to watch the eclipse using safety measures.
Dr Young said: “Because the Sun is so incredibly bright, it is still too bright to look at with unprotected eyes.
“You need safe solar viewing glasses or special filters for use with telescopes or binoculars.”
Any glimpse of the Sun’s brightness is highly dangerous.
Looking directly at the powerful brightness of the Sun may irreparably damage the retina.
Even the smallest amount of exposure can cause blurry vision or temporary blindness.
Whether you use the cardboard eclipse glasses or a handheld card with a single rectangular view, the most important feature is the filter.
Ensure your eclipse glasses meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.