From our perspective here on Earth, one of the most spectacular celestial dances occurs when the Moon partially obscures our view of the Sun, allowing a ring of stellar fire to escape from its edges. And on June 21, this is exactly the show we will have.
A ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse will sail across the sky this weekend as the moon blocks out more than 99 per cent of the Sun’s light.
An annular eclipse is nicknamed “Ring of Fire” because the lunar disk doesn’t completely cover the Sun, leaving a bright circle around the Moon.
Annular eclipses happen when the Sun, Moon and Earth align while the Moon is at the furthest point from Earth in its orbit – around 252,088 miles away, or 32 Earths, according to NASA.
A stunning – and unusual – example of this was captured by photographer Colin Legg and astronomy student Geoff Sims in Western Australia in May 2013.
The path of totality will go from Central Africa, through the Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, India, China, Taiwan, and finally the Pacific. A partial eclipse will be visible across most of Africa, Asia, Southern and Eastern Europe, and Northern Australia.
The eclipse will begin at dawn in Eastern Africa (June 21, 03:45 GMT) with totality beginning about one hour later. The totality will last for about four hours as the shadow of the Moon moves across the surface of the Earth. The last location to see totality will be in the Pacific Ocean at 08:32:17 GMT.
The shadow moving across the image below indicates where at least a partial eclipse will be visible and the moving dot marks the line of totality – the path along which the annular eclipse will last the longest.
It is vitally important people use eclipse glasses to safely watch the event as it can burn your retinas with its light even if you take a quick glance. If you are interested in watching, we recommend the use of filters for cameras, binoculars, and telescopes, as well as eclipse glasses.