Annular Solar Eclipse
On June 10, 2021, people across the northern hemisphere had the chance to experience an annular or partial eclipse of the Sun.
Photo Credit: Stefan Seip
The next annular solar eclipse will be visible in parts of the United States, Mexico, and several Central American and South American countries on October 14, 2023 at 15:03 UTC. Stay tuned for details!
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
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 EXPERIENCE IN REAL LIFE
“I got very lucky! I was on top of a 6-story parking lot, right above the treeline in the direction of the sunrise. At the maximum point, the sun was coming from from a cloud bank. I was able to see the partial eclipse through a narrow break in the clouds before it disappeared into the clouds above!
I had eclipse glasses and Alex’s solar binoculars with magnification. I highly recommend preparing for your next viewing opportunity by getting a pair with as much magnification as you can. Also figure out some tricks to steady them—practice ahead and look for tips online. I steadied them on my car’s roof and could see the partial eclipse and wisps of clouds. I also called Alex to share in the excitement. He had just finished a radio interview about it, and was busy sharing post on our social feeds.
I only had a few precious minutes, so I watched and quickly snapped a photo to show the conditions, but didn’t try to mess with a better photo capturing the eclipse. There are plenty of other people with better conditions who captured it, and my plan was to gather some here. Next time you see an eclipse, be in the moment & enjoy it! Appreciate seeing one of the wonders of the universe with your own eyes.
The photos below show how the viewing conditions also lined up perfectly: just above the trees, to the left of highrise buildings, finding an easy-to-access location to see it, and narrow break in the clouds!
As a bonus, I had a serenade of 17-year-cicadas! Total solar eclipses have the 360-degree sunset effect, but I had the 360-degree sunrise+cicada effect. Truly spectacular!
The only downside is that C. Alex Young (The Sun Today co-founder & my husband) was in Georgia and out of range of viewing it. We have each seen 2 of the past solar eclipses, but none together. It’s another reminder of just how special these moments are. It’s worth a little bit of effort to try and see it. Each one is unique. Even if you’re in the right place at the right time, you can still have a cloud blocking your view. We have both experienced that disappointment. The upside is those disappointments mean that I appreciated this partial solar eclipse even more!
If you couldn’t see it, or like my friend feel frustrated that you didn’t wake up for it…take a breath and let that go. Take some time when you can to check out what other people are sharing. That’s part of the joy of eclipses! Everyone has an experience and it’s amazing to share. Focus on this, and feel the excitement from what others were able to capture. The universe is a big place. We will never see everything with our own eyes. Learn to enjoy what others have found, and you’ll still feel joy. There is a lot of sadness in people’s hearts, and space is an opportunity to step outside of that, even if only second-hand and/or for a few moments. Enjoy!”
– Linda Schenk, The Sun Today co-founder • June 10, 2021