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2020 Summer Solstice: The ‘Ring of Fire’ Solar Eclipse in Africa, Asia Occurs Sunday

The eclipse on Sunday arrives on the northern hemisphere’s longest day of the year – the summer solstice – when Earth’s north pole is tilted most directly towards the Sun.

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The time of maximum eclipse, when that “ring of fire” event happens, will be at 2:40 a.m. EDT (0640 GMT) Sunday, June 21, when the moon crosses into the center of the sphere of the sun, from Earth’s perspective. The eclipse starts at 11:45 p.m. EDT Saturday, June 20 (0345 GMT Sunday) and ends at 5:34 a.m. EDT (1034 GMT) June 20, according to NASA.

The annular solar eclipse will take place on a narrow “path of annularity” across Africa and Asia. A “ring of fire” will be visible at sunrise in the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, then as a higher-in-the-sky spectacle in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, Oman, Pakistan, India, Tibet, China, and Taiwan.

Observers will see a ring around the sun for a maximum of about one minute.
Arcing eastward across Asia and Africa, it will reach “maximum eclipse” – with a perfect solar halo around the Moon – over Uttarakhand, India near the Sino-Indian border at 12:10pm local time (6:40 GMT).

This solar eclipse is what is known as an annular eclipse, in which the moon does not completely cover the sun as it passes between the star and Earth as seen from our planet. Instead, a ring of sunlight will still shine around the outer edge, hence its nickname: a “ring of fire” eclipse.

They occur every year or two, and can only be seen from a narrow pathway across the planet.


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