Events Details

Annular Solar Eclipse

21/06/2020

A rare 'ring of fire' eclipse is taking place on 21st June, 2020 across Africa, the Middle East and Asia. On Sunday 21 June 2020, those standing under a narrow path of annularity across Africa, the Middle East and Asia will get the chance to see a so-called ‘ring of fire’ eclipse as the Moon temporarily blocks out most (but not all) of the Sun’s disc. Annular eclipses are normally not particularly rare – the last one occurred on Boxing Day in 2019 – but June’s annular solar eclipse is extra special. The solar corona is the Sun’s hotter outer atmosphere, and generally speaking it’s hidden from view by the brightness of the Sun’s disc. It occasionally becomes visible to the naked eye during a total solar eclipse, when the Moon fits perfectly across the disc of the Sun, therefore allowing the corona to shine. It’s one of the greatest sights in nature, let alone in astronomy. During totality it’s also possible to see the Sun’s chromosphere, its inner red atmosphere, and ‘Baily’s beads’ – bright spots of sunlight that shine through the valleys of the Moon. All of that usually applies only to a total solar eclipse. However, June’s annular solar eclipse – an event not normally known for anything other than offering a uniform view of a ring around the Moon – will be unusual because of a rare quirk of celestial geometry. “That ring of Sun that’s not obscured by the Moon, and still visible during that perfect alignment can be any thickness, and in the case of this eclipse, that alignment happens when the Moon will be just barely too small to cover the Sun, so we’ll see an incredibly thin ring.” Although Tibet is favoured for its dramatic view of a very thin annulus, there are other prime locations. The ring of fire is visible at sunrise in the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, then as a higher-in-the-sky spectacle in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, Oman, Pakistan, India, Tibet, China and Taiwan, with a ring of fire sunset in the Pacific Ocean south of Guam. Meanwhile, a big partial solar eclipse will be visible across much of Africa and Asia. Day of week: Sunday Maximum duration of eclipse: 00m38s Maximum width of eclipse path: 21 km Saros cycle: 137 Coverage: 99.4% Magnitude: 0.994 Gamma: 0.1209

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