Viewing Thursday’s Ring of Fire eclipse

This Thursday, June 10th, a ring-of-fire eclipse will be visible across the northern hemisphere. The Moon will cast its shadow onto the Earth, this is in contrast to the recent Lunar eclipse, where the Earth cast its shadow onto the surface of the moon.

If you live in the eastern half of Canada and the most north east part of the United State you could see this spectacular solar event. A “ring-of-fire” eclipse differs from a normal total solar eclipse due the Moon not being close enough to the Earth to totally block out the Sun.

While for most of us in the United States this event will take place while the Sun is below the horizon. You might be able to catch a partial eclipse in the hours following sunrise. Of course, if you are viewing the eclipse in person you should follow the eye protection information that NASA has laid out.

You can still view the eclipse online, weather willing, via NASA’s livestream from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Sudbury Centre. The coverage will begin early tomorrow morning, at 5 a.m. EDT, with a live telescope view of the Sun.

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, and casts its shadow onto Earth’s surface. There are four types of Solar eclipses; total, partial, annular, and hybrid. Total eclipses occur when the Moon is closest to Earth and entirely blocks the sun along a path. Only a small area on Earth is in complete shadow. By contrast, an annular eclipse occurs when the Moon is farther from the Earth and visually smaller than the Sun. These annular eclipses result in a ring of the sun being visible around the Moon.

While it is extraordinarily rare, sometimes an eclipse will appear like an annular eclipse from some points on Earth and a total eclipse from others. This is known as a hybrid eclipse. The last type of solar eclipse is a partial eclipse. A partial eclipse occurs when the Earth, Moon, and Sun are not perfectly aligned and results in the Sun being partially blocked.

The solar eclipse on Thursday will be an annular eclipse. The bright ring of the sun visible gives this type of eclipse the nickname the ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse.

Of course, be mindful when looking at the sun. Use a solar viewer for admiring the sun, and use solar filters on cameras and telescope to keep your eyes and your equipment safe.

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