The first of two solar eclipses in 2020 will turn the sun into a glowing “ring of fire” on June 21 or depending on where you are located, June 20. Some people along a narrow stretch of the world will have the chance to see it beforehand.
The ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse gets its name when the moon is too far away from us to completely hide the sun, leaving a circle of brightness around the moon.
The full annual eclipse will be noticed from parts of Africa and Asia. “A thin stripe from Africa to the Pacific Ocean will see the Moon in front of the Sun blocking 99.4% of the Sun at its peak in northern India such that only a bright ring is visible,” NASA said in a skywatching update for June.
Time and Date is a good resource to help you find out if it’s visible in your area, and tells you whether you’re in line for the full eclipse, a partial eclipse or no eclipse at all. A NASA website also shows the eclipse path on an interactive map and lets you zoom in to find a viewing location.
The Virtual Telescope Project, livestreams celestial events like these. Eclipse fans in the US will need to stay up late. The Virtual Telescope Project will kick off coverage at 10:30 p.m. PT on Saturday night.
The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan will offer a Japanese-language livestream with its view of a partial eclipse starting at 11:45 p.m. PT on Saturday.
This won’t be the only eclipse of the year. A total solar eclipse is on tap for Dec. 14 for viewers in parts of South America.
Watching online is not the same experience as seeing it in person, nonetheless it’s still an opportunity to witness how the sun and the moon, and our place in the solar system function.