Solar Eclipse: Summer Solstice and ‘Ring of Fire’ Solar Eclipse coincide
This summer solstice, the Earth will be playing host to a rare type of solar eclipse. On June 21, the longest day of the year, we will get to witness a celestial event known as the ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse. This is the first time since 1982 that the annular solar eclipse and the summer solstice fall on the same day. The next time these two events coincide will be on June 21, 2039.
The annular solar eclipse is a celestial event during which the Sun, Moon and Earth align in that order, effectively blocking the Sun’s rays from reaching the Earth’s surface. Currently the Moon is at its furthest point in its orbit around the Earth, also known as an apogee. Because the Moon is so far from the Earth, it is unable to completely obscure the Sun from view. This leaves an outline of the sun around the dark side of the moon, giving it the ‘Ring of Fire’ effect. At the peak of the eclipse, the Moon will be able to block 99% of the Sun from view, this however, lasts for only a few seconds.
This rare astronomical event will be visible from parts of Africa and Asia, including the Central African Republic, Congo, Ethiopia, Southern Pakistan, Northern India, and China. Weather permitting, the eclipse will be visible between the hours of 9:15 am and 3:04 pm. It will reach its peak at precisely 12:10 pm. It is advised to not look directly at the eclipse without proper eye protection as the UV rays can be harmful for the eyes and even result in blindness in some cases.