You Can Livestream a Rare Solstice “Ring of Fire” Solar Eclipse This Weekend

published Jun 16, 2020
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"Ring of fire" solar eclipse
Credit: Sorin Furcoi/Getty Images

June’s summer solstice, the longest day of the year in terms of daylight, is this Saturday, June 20—but that’s not the only noteworthy astronomical event happening this weekend. An annular solar eclipse will grace the starry night sky Saturday going into Sunday, forming a “ring of fire” around the moon that will be visible from earth.

This kind of solar eclipse usually happens once a year, and the “ring of fire” is due to the moon being silhouetted against the sun, according to timeanddate.com. But what makes it extremely rare is that it’s happening the weekend of the summer solstice, which isn’t happening again until 2039.

In general, solar eclipses occur when the sun and earth are aligned on opposite sides of the moon, also known as New Moon. It’s only when the moon is in apogee—near its farthest point from Earth—that it becomes aligned in a straight line with the sun and earth. When this alignment happens, the outer edge of the sun remains visible behind the moon and creates this “ring of fire” that is identified as an annular solar eclipse.

As for this weekend, the astronomical sighting is only going to be visible from select locations in Africa and Asia. Onlookers located in parts of Africa including the Central African Republic, Congo, and Ethiopia have a chance of seeing it, plus in China, northern India, and south of Pakistan. While not everyone will be able to see it IRS (in real sky), a livestream starts at 11 p.m. EDT that allows you to watch it occur right before your eyes.

So whether it’s in-person or a virtual sighting, keep Saturday night open for the solstice “ring of fire” solar eclipse. If you can’t tune in, you can catch the last solstice eclipse of the century that’s happening in 19 years. But if you don’t want to wait that long, mark your calendars and reschedule your plans.