Today: Thu 18 Jan 2018

South America and southern Africa set for stunning 'ring of fire' solar eclipse on Sunday

Get your binoculars ready, as the first solar eclipse of 2017 is poised to appear on Sunday. The sun will be hidden by the moon leaving just a slender 'ring of fire' around the edge. The spectacle will be visible to more than half a billion people across the world - provided it doesn't cloud over.

The next new moon will fall on February 26, 2017, to usher in the first of two solar eclipses in 2017. It will be an annular eclipse, nowadays often called a ring of fire eclipse. During an annular eclipse, the outer edge of the sun appears as a thin ring (annulus) of sunshine around the moon. An annular eclipse is, essentially, a special type of partial eclipse. At no time will the sky grow dark, and you’ll need continual eye protection to watch it, assuming you’re in a place on Earth where the eclipse is visible. The February 26 eclipse will be visible from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere, mainly over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Remember to use eye protection if you’re in a position to watch this eclipse! At no time will the sky grow dark; at no time will it be safe to view the eclipse with the eye alone. An annular eclipse, in fact, is essentially a partial eclipse, albeit a particularly photogenic one.

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