QINGDAO, CHINA – JANUARY 15: (CHINA OUT) The Annular Solar Eclipse occurs on January 15, 2010 in … [+]
Visual China Group via Getty Images
Fancy watching a dramatic solar eclipse to round-off Christmas Day?
For sky-watchers, space fans and nature-lovers across the world, it’s two Christmases in one this year as a rare annular solar eclipse strikes the Middle East and Asia—and you can watch it all online.
Annular eclipse, An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon appears smaller than the Sun and leaves a … [+]
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
What is an annular solar eclipse?
An annular solar eclipse occurs when a New Moon is furthest from the Earth on its elliptical orbit, and on Christmas Day it will appear about one percent smaller in the sky. It can’t fully eclipse the Sun, and instead observers see a “ring of fire” or “ring of light” around the Moon. It’s essentially a pretty partial solar eclipse, and at all times observers need to wear protective solar eclipse glasses.
The path of annularity for the annular solar eclipse, which happens on Dec. 26 locally, but on Dec. … [+]
Xavier Jubier & Google Maps
Where is the Christmas Day ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse?
It’s happening along a path that’s 118 kilometres wide. It will be visible from Saudi Arabia—where the sun will rise as a “ring of fire”—Qatar, the UAE, Oman, southern India, northern Sri Lanka, the Indian Ocean, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Guam, where the sun will set as a ring of fire. A partial solar eclipse will be visible across the Middle East, south-east Asia and Australia.
In this composite of five images, the moon appears to cover the sun during an annular eclipse of the … [+]
AFP via Getty Images
When is the Christmas Day ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse?
A partial solar eclipse officially begins at 2:29 a.m. Universal Co-ordinated Time (UTC), though the “action” begins at 3:43 a.m. UTC as the sun rises as an annular solar eclipse in Saudi Arabia (at 6:43 a.m. local time). That’s the key sight for eclipse-chasers, and that’s what you want to try to see online. The “ring of fire” will last for 2 minutes 50 seconds in Saudi Arabia, but after its appearance at sunrise it will appear as a ring of fire across the world for a few minutes across the next three and a half hours.
That converts to these times (you can convert for your location here):
- New York: 10:43 p.m. EST on Christmas Day (December 25, 2019) through 2:01 a.m. on Boxing Day (December 26, 2019)
- Los Angeles: 7:43 p.m. through 11:01 p.m. PST on Christmas Day (December 25, 2019)
- London: 3:43 a.m. through 7:01 a.m. GMT on Boxing Day (December 26, 2019)
Where to stream the Christmas Day ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse?
Although NASA doesn’t appear to have plans to cover this annular solar eclipse, there are a few live feeds on YouTube you can follow.
Slooh will have host live feeds from the Middle East, India, and Singapore beginning at 6:30 p.m. PST/9:30 p.m. EST/2:30 UTC
Here’s one (above) from Tharulowa Digital: Institute of Astronomy Sri Lanka.
It’s also worth checking-out Timeanddate.com’s live feed on YouTube.
Are there any annular solar eclipses in 2020?
On June 21, 2020 a much deeper 99% annular solar eclipse—itself a very rare event—will see the Moon block the Sun for just over a minute (maximum). Visible from the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, Oman, Pakistan, India, Tibet, China, Taiwan and Guam, eclipse-chasers will likely head for the clear skies of Oman and the high altitudes of Tibet for that one.
A total solar eclipse from La Serana, Chile on July 02, 2019. (Photo by Sebastian Brogca/Anadolu … [+]
Is there a total solar eclipse in 2020?
Yes. On December 14, 2020 a total solar eclipse comes to southern Chile and northern Patagonia in Argentina. For 2 minutes 9 seconds eclipse-chasers within a narrow path of totality will get to experience darkness in the day and glimpse the Sun’s mighty white corona, its hotter outer atmosphere. If you want to experience it, start planning now.
Wishing you wide eyes and clear skies.