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Home / Tips and Tricks / ‘Ring of fire’ solar eclipse 2021: how and when to watch tomorrow

‘Ring of fire’ solar eclipse 2021: how and when to watch tomorrow



Annular Eclipse

An annular solar eclipse in 2011.

NASA

Wake up Thursday to the sun in parts of North America and you might get to see different sides of our neighborhood star. On the morning of June 1

0, the eclipsed new moon will pass in front of the sun, resulting in a partial eclipse visible from much of North America and Europe. Some lucky skywatchers in a narrow part of Canada and Siberia will be able to see the most dramatic part of the show, the “ring of firewhich results from the moon covering all but the edges of the sun.

The scientific name for this is an annular eclipse, which is a bit different from a total eclipse — when the moon is the right distance from Earth to completely obscure the sun. A total solar eclipse on a big show in North America in 2017, and we will get another one in 2024.

The path of the Eye of Sauron-like phenomenon is called the path of the annularity, and in this case it involves some very remote and uninhabited areas, including Northern Canada, Greenland and the damn North Pole. Add to that the travel restrictions of COVID, and the actual ring of fire will likely be seen by very few people.

Your best chance right now may be to drop some coin or otherwise try to make your way to Sky and Telescope Magazine’s chartered flight from Minnesota to view the eclipse from the sky.

The good news for millions of others is that a partial eclipse will be visible from northern and eastern parts of North America and much of Europe for some time to come. The animation below from NASA gives a good approximation of what will be visible where and when. The large shadow over the globe indicates the day side of the night side, while the lighter, secondary shadow is where and when a partial eclipse will be visible. The path of annularity is represented by the small red area.

The path of the June 10 annular solar eclipse.

NASA

Another rare aspect of this eclipse is that it will occur close to sunrise in many locations. This means that with a nice, flat horizon to the east, like on a waterfront, the sun appears to have horns as it rises instead of its usual curved disk.

“Good places to see this phenomenon are around Thunder Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Toronto, Philadelphia, New York City and Atlantic City,” explains Michael Zeiler of GreatAmericanEclipse.com. “Other places will see the rising sun appear like a shark’s fin, such as Ottawa, Montreal and Boston.”

ase2021 sunrise figures

Where to watch in North America.

Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com

Remember, never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection, even (especially) during a solar eclipse. That’s still a blinding fireball up there.

The American Astronomical Society has this authoritative guide to safely viewing a solar eclipse using a filter or binoculars, or the old pinhole projection method.

For the vast majority of us who won’t be able to make it to the annularity path this time, make plans to head to the western US on October 14, 2023, when the ring of fire will reappear.

To follow CNET’s Space Calendar for 2021 to keep up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.


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