Annular Solar Eclipses

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AKA a “Ring of Fire” eclipse, they occur when the Moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun’s, blocking most of the Sun’s light and causing the Sun to look like an annulus (ring).

The next annular solar eclipse will be visible in western parts of the United States, Mexico, and several Central American and South American countries on October 14, 2023 at 15:03 UTC. Mark your calendars!

Photo Credit: Stefan Seip

The “Ring of Fire” Eclipse

A solar eclipse happens when the Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth, fully or partially blocking the Sun’s light in some areas.

Because the moon is farther away from Earth, it seems smaller and does not block the entire view of the sun. 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.

During an annular eclipse, the Moon is far enough away from Earth that the Moon appears smaller than the Sun in the sky. Since the Moon does not block the entire view of the Sun, it will look like a dark disk on top of a larger, bright disk. This creates what looks like a ring of fire around the Moon.

The Ring of Fire

Photos from previous eclipses show the “ring of fire”. Graphics show where & why it happens.
Annular Eclipse - Japan - May 21, 2012 CREDIT: George Olcott

Annular Eclipse – Japan – May 21, 2012 CREDIT: George Olcott

Map of the Thursday, June 10, 2021 - Annular Solar Eclipse
This map of the eclipse path shows where the June 10, 2021, annular and partial solar eclipse will occur. People in parts of Canada, Greenland, and northern Russia were able to experience the annular eclipse. Other areas could see a partial eclipse. Credits: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio/Ernie Wright
An annular solar eclipse on May 20, 2012. Credits: Dale Cruikshank
An annular solar eclipse on May 20, 2012. Credits: Dale Cruikshank
Annular Eclipse – Japan – May 21, 2012 CREDIT: Joseph Mina
Annular Eclipse – Japan – May 21, 2012 CREDIT: Joseph Mina

Annular Eclipse – Japan – May 21, 2012 CREDIT: Joseph Mina

Image Credit: Stefan Seip
Credit: Stefan Seip
Annular Eclipse – Japan – May 21, 2012 CREDIT: Hidetsugu Tonomura

Annular Eclipse – Japan – May 21, 2012 CREDIT: Hidetsugu Tonomura

On June 10, 2021, people across the northern hemisphere had the chance to experience an annular or partial eclipse of the Sun.

Watch the replays & see photos of the event!

Note: The telescope being streamed will be too far south to see the full annular effect. Stream courtesy of Luc Boulard, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Sudbury Centre.

Live stream from timeanddate.com

Partial Solar Eclipse

If you’re not in the direct path for a annular eclipse—but still within the outside of the path—this is what you may have seen with proper eye protection.

In some places, viewers didn’t get to see this ring around the Moon. However, they experienced a partial solar eclipse if within range as the map above shows. This happens when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are not exactly lined up. The Sun will appeared to have a dark shadow on only part of its surface. Viewers in parts of the eastern United States and northern Alaska saw a partial solar eclipse on June 10, along with much of Canada and parts of the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa.

In the United States, the partial eclipse was visible along parts of the Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, and in Northern Alaska. In many of these locations, the eclipse will occur before, during, and shortly after sunrise. This meant that viewers will need to get a clear view of the horizon during sunrise in order to see the eclipse.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse - Partial View

PROTECT YOUR EYES!

Unlike a total solar eclipse, at no time will this be safe to view with the naked eyes. Be sure to carefully read the details to understand how to protect your eyes! Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun.