Wake up to sunshine on Thursday in parts of North America and you can see different parts of our neighborhood star. On June 1
The scientific name for this is an annular solar eclipse, which is slightly different from a total solar eclipse – when the Moon is at the right distance from the Earth to completely cover the sun. A total solar eclipse placed onand we will receive .
The path of the phenomenon, similar to the eye of Sauron, is called the Ring Road, and in this case it passes through some very remote and uninhabited areas, including North Canada, Greenland and the North Pole. Add COVID travel restrictions on top of everything and the actual ring of fire is likely to be witnessed by very few people.
Your best shot at this point may be to drop a coin or try to complete your flight to Sky and Telescope Magazine from Minnesota to see the eclipse from the air.
The good news for millions of others is that a partial eclipse will still be visible for some time from the northern and eastern parts of North America and much of Europe. The animation below from NASA provides a good approximation of what will be seen from when and where. The large shadow above the globe indicates the day side of the night side, while the lighter, secondary shadow is where and when a partial eclipse will be seen. The ring-shaped path is represented by the small red zone.
Another rare aspect of this eclipse is that it will occur near sunrise in many places. This means that with a nice, flat horizon to the east, like on the shore, the sun can appear with its horns as it rises, rather than with its usual curved disk.
“Good places to observe this phenomenon are around Thunder Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Toronto, Philadelphia, New York and Atlantic City,” explains Michael Zeiler of GreatAmericanEclipse.com. “Elsewhere, the rising sun will look like a shark’s fin, like Ottawa, Montreal and Boston.”
Remember, never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection, even (especially) during an eclipse. It’s still a dazzling fireball up there.
The American Astronomical Society has this authoritative guide to safely viewing an eclipse using a filter or visualizer or the old method of drilling holes.
For the vast majority of us who will not be able to reach the ring road this time, make plans to head to the western United States on October 14, 2023, when the ring of fire will reappear.
I follow CNET’s space calendar for 2021 to keep you up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.