Everything you need to know about an Annular Eclipse

Eclipses occur when a celestial object such as the sun or moon moves into another celestial object’s shadow. It can also happen when a planet such as the earth moves into the shadow of a celestial body. For instance, a lunar eclipse happens when Earth gets in between the new moon and the sun. A solar eclipse, on the other hand, occurs when a new moon gets in between the sun and Earth. During such an eclipse, the new moon blocks light from the sun from reaching the earth. 

People observe four types of solar eclipses. The annular eclipse is the second most common type of solar eclipse. Below are more details on this type of solar eclipse. 

What Is an Annular Solar Eclipse?

An annular solar eclipse occurs when it is a new moon, and the moon is near or at a lunar node. During this eclipse, the moon is usually far from the earth and is near a point called the moon’s apogee. At the same time, the earth, the sun, and the new moon line up in a nearly straight line. A part of Earth becomes engulfed in the shadow of the moon as a result of this. 

What Happens During an Annular Solar Eclipse?

During an annular solar eclipse, the moon partially blocks sunlight from reaching the earth. It occurs when the distance between the moon and the earth is large. Since this distance is large, the moon looks small and therefore does not cover the sun entirely. As a result, the moon appears like a small dark disk on top of a large sun-colored disk. Such creates something that looks like a ring around the moon. People often call this the ring of fire.

There are five stages of this type of solar eclipse called the fourth contact, the maximum eclipse, the third contact, the first contact, and the second contact stages. Below are more details on these stages:

  • During the first contact stage of an annular solar eclipse, a partial solar eclipse begins. The moon’s dark image starts to appear on the sun’s disk. As a result, the sun’s image changes, and it looks as if a part of it has been taken away. 
  • During the second contact stage of the annular eclipse, the annularity starts. The ring fire starts to appear around the moon. When you look at the moon closely during this stage, you will see beads of light at the edges of the moon’s dark image. 
  • The third stage is the maximum eclipse stage. During this stage, the sun’s disk center gets covered by the moon. 
  • The next stage is the third contact stage. During this stage, the annular eclipse comes to an end as the moon rotates away from the sun. You may notice some light beads around the moon’s edges during this stage. 
  • The last stage of an annular solar eclipse is the fourth contact stage. The partial solar eclipse comes to an end during this stage, and the moon completely moves away from the sun’s disk. 

The total duration of this solar eclipse is around six hours. However, in locations where people can see this eclipse, it lasts for around three hours. The ring of fire is usually visible for around twelve minutes in these areas. 

How Rare Is an Annular Solar Eclipse?

An annular solar eclipse is not so rare. It happens after every one or two years. Below are the dates of the past annular solar eclipses. 

  • May 21, 2012
  • May 10, 2013
  • April 29, 2014
  • September 1, 2016
  • February 26, 2017
  • December 26, 2019
  • June 21, 2020

What Should You Avoid During a Solar Eclipse?

You should not look at the sun directly during a solar eclipse since sun rays are usually strong during this time. These rays can damage your eyes. For instance, they can burn your eye retinas, damaging the cells. These rays can also make you blind. 

To look at the sun during this eclipse, you should wear eclipse glasses that do not have scratches or use a solar filter. Eclipse glasses block all the rays from the sun and all visible light. Therefore, when you wear them, sun rays will not get into your eyes or damage them. You will also clearly see the moon’s shadow over the sun’s disk when wearing these glasses. You will not see this if you put on your regular sunglasses. Regular sunglasses will also not protect your eyes during this eclipse, as these sunglasses only block a small percentage of sun rays. 

You should also not look at the sun through an unfiltered telescope, binoculars, or a camera during this eclipse. Whether you are wearing eclipse glasses or using a solar viewer, you should not use any of these devices. Get advice from an expert before using them.

Eclipse Glasses From American Paper Optics

We offer the best eclipse glasses at affordable prices. Our solar eclipse glasses comply with the set standards of solar eclipse glasses. 

After buying our solar eclipse glasses and using them once, you do not need to throw them away. You can use them for another solar eclipse. However, before reusing them, ensure that they are not torn, dented, or scratched. If you do not need to reuse them, you can donate the glasses to astronomical clubs and schools. 

An annular solar eclipse happens every one or two years. This solar eclipse is characterized by a ring of fire that surrounds the moon. For this eclipse to occur, the moon must get in between the earth and the sun. You can look at the sun during this eclipse. However, you need to use a solar filter or eclipse glasses when looking at the sun. Get yours today!