This weekend’s solar eclipse is all the more special as it coincides with the summer solstice – only the second occasion since 1982 these astronomical events occurred simultaneously. The annular solar eclipse sees the Sun, Moon and Earth align this Sunday, 21 June, creating a spectacular effect for spectators to watch in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, areas of Europe and Australia.
June 21 solar eclipse times:
Regions in the path of visibility include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, the Red Sea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Gulf of Oman, Pakistan, India, China, Taiwan, the Philippine Sea – south of Guam, northern Australia and the north Pacific Ocean.
The time of maximum eclipse, when the Ring of Fire phenomenon occurs, will be at 7.40am BST (2.40am EDT) on Sunday.
This marks the time the Moon crosses into the centre of the Sun, from Earth’s perspective.
The eclipse starts at 4.45am GMT Sunday (11.45pm EDT Saturday).
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And the eclipse event ends at 11.34am BST (5.34am EDT), NASA has confirmed.
If you are not lucky enough to witness the eclipse in person, you can still enjoy the spectacular event online.
Sunday’s solar eclipse is what is known as an annular eclipse.
This means the Moon fails to completely cover the Sun as it passes between the star and Earth as seen from our planet.
Instead, a ring of sunlight will still shine around the outer edge, hence its Ring of Fire eclipse nickname.
The eclipse will happen only a couple of hours after the Moon enters the New Moon phase.
Because the Moon will be near its apogee or farthest orbit from Earth, the size of the Moon’s disk will be insufficient to cover the Sun.
The small ring of sunlight still visible will make this an ‘annular’ eclipse, from the Latin annulus, meaning ring-shaped.
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Where in the world will the solar eclipse be visible?
Unfortunately for UK stargazers, the eclipse will see nothing out of the ordinary.
Instead, the path of the eclipse will begin in central Africa and travel over Saudi Arabia, northern India and southern China, before finishing in the Pacific Ocean.
Meanwhile, viewers in eastern Africa, the Middle East and southern Asia will be able to see a partial eclipse.
NASA’s Eclipse Website includes a helpful interactive map detailing exactly where the eclipse will be visible.
The US-based space agency said: “The northern and southern path limits are blue and the central line is red.
“You must be somewhere within the central path (between the blue lines) to see the annular phase of the eclipse.
“The eclipse is longest on the central line (in red).
“The yellow lines crossing the path indicate the time and position of maximum eclipse at 10-minute intervals.”
Annular solar eclipses 2017 to 2030:
February 26, 2017
December 26, 2019
June 21, 2020
June 10, 2021
October 14, 2023
October 2, 2024
February 17, 2026
February 6, 2027
January 26, 2028
June 1, 2030
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