PITTSBURG (KDKA) – The lunar eclipse “super colored blood moon” from last month was hardly the only exciting celestial event of the season. This week brings an even bigger spectacle – a rare solar eclipse “ring of fire”.
On June 10, sky watchers around the world will be able to see the eclipse.
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What is an annular solar eclipse?
A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the Earth and the sun, completely blocking sunlight. During an annular solar eclipse, the moon does not completely cover the sun as it passes, leaving a glowing ring of sunlight visible.
An annular eclipse can only occur under certain conditions, says NASA. The moon must be in its first lunar phase and must also be farther from the Earth in its elliptical orbit, which looks smaller in the sky than usual.
Because the moon appears smaller in these circumstances, it cannot completely block the sun, forming a so-called “ring of fire”
“As the pair rises higher in the sky, the silhouette of the moon will gradually shift from the sun to the lower left corner, allowing more of the sun to appear until the eclipse is over,” NASA said.
How to watch the annular solar eclipse
Thursday morning, June 10, makes the new moon, which will eclipse the sun at 6:53 p.m. ET. To see it, look east.
The narrow path of the eclipse will be fully visible in parts of Canada, Greenland, the Arctic Ocean and Siberia. It will be partially visible to much of the rest of northeastern North America, Greenland, northern Europe and northern Asia.
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From the Washington, D.C. region, the moon will block about 80 percent of the left side of the sun when they rise together east-northeast at 5:42 a.m. The sun will appear as a crescent during that time, NASA said.
While it won’t be the perfect ring of fire for the Pittsburgh area, it will still be very nice to see.
Meteorologist Ray Petelin says that you ALWAYS wear special eye protection to see events involving the sun. The sunglasses themselves do not offer protection. Looking at the sun can cause eye damage. Look for “eclipse sunglasses” to see this safely.
“From any point on this annular path of the solar eclipse, the middle or annular or ‘fiery ring’ phase of the eclipse lasts a maximum of 3 minutes 51 seconds,” according to EarthSky.
The event will end around 6:29 p.m. ET.
It is essential to wear special sunglasses to protect your eyes while watching the celestial phenomenon. Looking directly at the sun is dangerous and can damage your eyes.
This is just one of two solar eclipses in 2021. A total solar eclipse will be visible on December 4.
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And don’t worry if you miss it – you can just catch up with the live stream instead.