Just two weeks after a lunar eclipse, skywatchers are in for another treat in June: A “ring of fire” annular solar eclipse will be visible in parts of North America on June 10.
The path of the eclipse starts at sunrise in Ontario, Canada (on the north side of Lake Superior), then circles across the northern reaches of the globe, EarthSky’s Bruce McClure said. “Midway along the path, the greatest eclipse occurs at local noon in northern Greenland and then swings by the Earth’s North Pole, and finally ends at sunset over northeastern Siberia,” he said.
The full eclipse will last for roughly an hour and 40 minutes. No part of the U.S. will see the full eclipse.
While the U.S. will miss out on the “ring of fire” part of the eclipse, folks who live along the East Coast and in the Upper Midwest will get a chance to see a partial solar eclipse just after sunrise.
A partial solar eclipse looks like the sun has a bite or chunk taken out of it.
Where can you watch the partial eclipse?
The most ideally situated metropolitan areas to view the partial eclipse at sunrise are Toronto, Philadelphia and New York, according to the Great American Eclipse website.
“Along the Atlantic coast, the very best view of a deep partial solar eclipse will be from the beaches of New Jersey. Tall buildings in New York City with unobstructed views in the direction of the rising sun will also have a great view,” the Great American Eclipse website said.
So, what is a solar eclipse? Sometimes as the moon orbits the Earth, it moves between the sun and Earth. When this happens, the moon blocks the light of the sun from reaching Earth, NASA said. This causes an eclipse of the sun, or solar eclipse.
During a solar eclipse, the moon casts a shadow onto Earth.
Why is called a ‘ring of fire’ eclipse?
In addition to the more familiar total and partial solar eclipses, sometimes annular eclipses occur, such as the one on June 10. An annular eclipse is when the moon covers the sun’s center, leaving the sun’s visible outer edge to form a “ring of fire” or “annulus” around the moon. (The word “annular” comes from the Latin word for ring.)
Because the moon is farther away from Earth, it seems smaller, so it does not block the entire view of the sun. During an annular eclipse, the moon in front of the sun looks like a dark disk on top of a larger sun-colored disk. This creates what looks like a “ring of fire” around the moon.
According to Space.com, a fitting analogy is placing a penny atop a nickel; the penny represents the moon and the nickel is the sun.
Solar eclipse glasses must be worn at all times during an annular or partial solar eclipse to avoid the threat of blindness, so it can be a dangerous event if you’re not properly prepared. NASA warns to never look directly at the sun: It can permanently damage your eyes.
“It is only during the total phase of a total eclipse that it is completely safe the to view the sun with the naked eye,” said eclipse chaser Fred Espenak, a retired NASA astrophysicist.
The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. will be on April 8, 2024, and it will be visible along a path from Texas to Maine, weather permitting.
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