‘The 2017 Ring of Fire’ – Annular Solar Eclipse

A ‘Ring of Fire’ for parts of South America and Africa

An annular solar eclipse will grace parts of South America and Southern Africa starting on the morning of Sunday, February 26, 2017. The event begins at 12:10 UTC as a partial eclipse over the South Pacific Ocean. The annular eclipse will be visible along a narrow path starting in the Pacific Ocean at 13:15 UTC. This path first crosses land in Chile at 13:32 UTC then leaves South America in Argentina at 13:44 UTC. The path continues across the South Atlantic reaching Angola at 16:25 UTC and ends in the Democratic Republic of Congo at 16:31 UTC. During the annular part of the eclipse, the Moon will travel in front of the Sun blocking most of its light—except for what looks like a ‘Ring of Fire’ around the Moon’s edge.

Eclipse Across America: On August 21, 2017, the United States will be treated to a total solar eclipse, the first to cross the contiguous United States (14 states from Oregon to South Carolina) since 1918. This is the first total solar eclipse in the continental United States since 1979. Find out more on our Eclipse page.

Below is an image of the annular eclipse from May 2012, the first annular eclipse visible from the contiguous United States in around 18 years. This is the first solar eclipse of 2017

May 20, 2012 Annular Solar Eclipse over New Mexico, Image Credit & Copyright: Colleen Pinski (shared by apod.nasa.gov)


Watch the Eclipse live online

The Slooh broadcast is Sunday, February 26, 2017 beginning at 7:00 AM EST.

If you miss it, check back for our favorite photos on our website, Facebook Page and Pinterest board!

What is an annular eclipse?

A solar eclipse is when the Moon lines up between Earth and the Sun such that the Moon either partially or completely blocks out the Sun. When the Sun is completely blocked out we called it a total solar eclipse, and often this is what people think of with an eclipse. But a partial eclipse can be just as exciting. When the Moon comes just shy of completely blocking out the Sun a bright ring or annulus is visible. This is a special kind of partial eclipse, an annular eclipse.

The annular eclipse of February 26, 2017 is the first solar eclipse of 2017.  The eclipse will be visible from a 30 to 90 kilometer-wide track that traverses the South Pacific, Chile, Argentina, the South Atlantic, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The annular path begins in the South Pacific of the coast of Chile at 13:15 UT and end at 16:31 over theDemocratic Republic of Congo.

The Sun Today has created this mini guide to viewing, and we’ll be posting our favorite images if you miss it live. If you are lucky enough to see it in-person, please share your image on our Facebook Page or email them to me at alex@thesuntoday.org with your credits and I’ll share to our community.

NASA ScienceCasts created a video in preparation for the February 26, 2017 annular eclipse across parts of the southern hemisphere.

Where and when to see the Eclipse on February 26, 2017

Below is a figure of the eclipse predictions from Fred Espenak (eclipsewise.com).

An orthographic map by Fred Espenak showing details of the eclipse’s visibility across Earth.


How to Safely Watch the Eclipse

Never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection or by using safe viewing techniques. This infographic from space.com outlines some options. For more on safety go to https://eclipse 2017.nasa.gov/safety

Guide to Solar Eclipses (Infographic)

Credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com Contributor – How Solar Eclipses Work: When the moon covers up the sun, skywatchers delight in the opportunity to see a rare spectacle.

Guide to Solar Eclipses (Infographic) Guide to Solar Eclipses (Infographic)