How to watch the Sun’s “Ring of Fire” solar eclipse online

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A “ring of fire” solar eclipse will briefly appear in parts of Africa and Asia this weekend, and if you’re not there in person, you can watch the spectacular show online.Sunday’s solar eclipse is what is known as an annular eclipse, in which the moon does not completely cover the sun as it passes between the star and Earth seen from our planet. Instead, a ring of sun will always shine around the outer edge, hence its nickname: an eclipse of “ring of fire”.

The time of maximum eclipse, when this “ring of fire” event occurs, will be at 2:40 a.m. EDT (0640 GMT) Sunday June 21, when the moon crosses the center of the sun’s sphere, from the Earth’s point of view. The eclipse begins at 11:45 p.m. EDT Saturday June 20 (0345 GMT Sunday) and ends at 5:34 a.m. EDT (10:34 a.m. GMT) June 20, according to NASA.

Related: Guide to the solar eclipse 2020: when, where and how to see them

An annular solar eclipse, seen by the Slooh online observatory on February 26, 2017. (Image credit: Slooh)

The eclipse will occur just hours after the moon enters the “new moon” phase. Because the moon will be near its peak or its farthest part from Earth, the size of the moon’s disc will not be enough to cover the sun. The small ring of sunlight still visible will make it an “annular” eclipse (from the Latin annulus, which means in the shape of a ring.)

Visible regions include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, the Red Sea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Gulf of Oman, the Pakistan, India, China, Taiwan, the Philippine Sea (south of Guam), northern Australia and the northern Pacific Ocean.

NOW you will need to take precautions to protect your eyes if you are there in person, online the solar eclipse is perfectly safe to see with unprotected eyes. There are several options available.

Slooh Webcast

The Astronomical Broadcast Service Slooh will host a virtual star party starting at 1:00 am EDT (05:00 GMT). You can watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh.

While the general public can also broadcast the show on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, paid Slooh members (annual membership prices start at $ 20 USD) can join a live chat on Slooh.com.

“Slooh will present live feeds of the eclipse from several partner observatories in the Middle East, India and the Far East,” Slooh said in a statement. “Members will be able to take photos of the eclipse throughout the live coverage. They can upload their images to Slooh’s new Eclipse quest, which will automatically generate a great souvenir poster of the event. “

Time and date

Time and Date, a website that tracks sky observations, will launch its own webcast at 1 a.m. EDT (0500 GMT).

“Due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19, our initial plans to send our mobile observatory to Oman had to be abandoned,” officials said on the show. “Although we are sad that we cannot go there, we are working hard to make sure that we always bring you great live footage and commentary from this extraordinary astronomical event. “

The Virtual Telescope Project

The virtual telescope project will begin webcasting at 1:30 a.m. EDT (5:30 a.m. GMT). The company is based in Rome, but will work in partnership with imagers and videographers in Africa and Asia “thanks to very generous people who want to share their opinions with the world,” said founder Gianluca Masi in a statement.

“Yes, it will be somewhat unique; the solar eclipse will occur soon after the solstice, which will make the event even more fascinating, “added Masi.

So far, participants in the Virtual Telescope webcast include Masi himself, Ahmed Saad (Karachi, Pakistan), Taqwa Observatory in Pakistan, Space India, Somalia Astronomical Society, International Astronomical Center ‘Abu Dhabi, Ali Abdullah (Lahore, Pakistan) and Lij Tuha (Dodola, Ethiopia.)

A visibility map of the annular solar eclipse of June 21, 2020. (Image credit: Fred Espenak / NASA)

While the path of the eclipse is long – crossing two continents and 14 countries – the path of greatest visibility is fairly narrow, said Time and Date. In West Africa, the path reaches its maximum width of 53 miles (85 km) wide and the “ring of fire” lasts approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds.

Sunday’s “ring of fire” solar eclipse occurs in the middle of the so-called 2020 eclipse season, which includes three eclipses (two of the moon and one of the sun) in the space of a month.

The first event was a relatively minor penumbra lunar eclipse on June 5. After Sunday’s solar eclipse, another minor lunar eclipse will occur overnight on July 4-5.

Editor’s note: If you take an amazing photo of the night sky and want to share it with Space.com readers, send your photos, comments, and your name and location to [email protected].

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.



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