‘Ring of fire’ solar eclipse set to erase (most of) the sun this weekend


Photographer Kristen M Caldon captured this annular eclipse of the sun sequence in the Grand Canyon National Park in 2012. Kristen M. Caldon/NPS/Grand Canyon National Park

The first of the two 2020 solar eclipses turn the sun into a glowing ” ring of fire “, the June 21 (or June 20th, depending on your location). People along a narrow band in the world will have the chance to see the rare solar eclipse first-hand.

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

The full annular eclipse will be visible from parts of Africa and Asia. “A narrow band of Africa, the Pacific Ocean to see the Moon before the Sun (blocking 99.4% of the Sun to its zenith in the north of India), so that only a bright ring is visible,” NASA said in a skywatching update for the month of June.

The time and Date allows you to dial in the details, for your area, and tells you if you are in line for the totality of the eclipse, a partial eclipse, or no eclipse at all. A NASA site also shows the eclipse path on a map and lets you zoom in to find a viewing location.

Even if you’re not in the right geographical place to catch the eclipse in person, you may be in luck thanks to the Telescope Project, which livestreams notable celestial events. Eclipse fans in the US will have to stay until the end. The Telescope Project will be the kick-off of the coverage at 10: 30 a.m. pt on Saturday night.

The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan offers a Japanese livestream with its view of a partial eclipse starting at 11: 45 a.m. PT Saturday.

This will not be the only eclipse of the year. A total eclipse of sun is on tap for Dec. 14 for viewers in parts of South America.

Watching online is not the same thing as being there, but this is yet another opportunity to contemplate the wonders of the sun and the moon, and our place in the solar system.


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