On Sunday, June 21st, a small part of the Earth witnessed a spectacular ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse.
Sunday’s eclipse was annular, which is when the Moon isn’t close enough to the Earth to completely obscure the Sun, causing a small ring of the solar disk to remain visible. Annular solar eclipses happen every year or two but can only be seen within a narrow region of the planet—it’s only visible to less than 2% of the surface.
Ring of Fire
The ‘ring of fire’ eclipse was first visible in the northeastern republic of Congo at 4:56 GMT, which was also the height of its blackout duration, lasting a minute and 22 seconds. It reached its maximum eclipse, the point when it forms a perfect halo, at 6:40 GMT over Uttarakhand, India, and lasted only 38 seconds.
Multiple scheduled gatherings to observe the annular eclipse were canceled or heavily restricted, which came as a disappointment to many hoping to meet up and view the event together. However, amateur astronomers and institutions from multiple countries managed to capture thousands of images of the event. Youtube channel timeanddate offered a live stream of the event from multiple different locations and observatories:
If you’re just hearing about this, there are a few more eclipses to catch in action this year—both solar and lunar. Another solar eclipse will occur later this year on December 14th over South America, and it will block out the Sun entirely. The next lunar eclipse will happen on July 5th and will be the second to last of the year.