Crowds gather to see rare ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse across Asia

Solar Eclipse occurs when the Moon moves between the Earth and the Sun darkening the sky

Solar Eclipse occurs when the Moon moves between the Earth and the Sun darkening the sky

Unlike the great 2017 solar eclipse that was visible across the United States, this one will leave a little ring of Sun when hitting the point of totality, a type of eclipse that is called an annular eclipse.

Unlike total and partial eclipses, the annular one occurs when the Moon covers the Sun's centre leaving the latter's visible outer edges to form a ring of fire or annulus around the former.

In the districts of Kottayam, Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram, the eclipse was said to be partial. (Credit: Arun Sankar/AFP) The moon totally covers the sun in a rare solar eclipse as seen from the south Indian city of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu.

Thousands of people gazed at the sky and cheered and clapped as the sun transformed into a dark orb for more than two minutes, briefly plunging the sky into darkness.

From Saudi Arabia, the annular eclipse dipped to the southeast, passing over Oman, southern India and Sri Lanka. This causes the Sun to look like a "ring of fire". Moreover, the sun's atmosphere, or corona, never appears.

"You can do the same experiment tomorrow, before or after eclipse - it's easy to do it", Chong said.

They're especially spectacular during sunrise or sunset - especially over ocean seascapes. The partial eclipse will begin at 3:33 p.m. and the annual eclipse will begin at 4:54 p.m.

Likewise, when clouds pass overhead, they can briefly filter out some of the most unsafe rays from the sun. It's still not safe to look at but can make for some cool photo-ops.

As our planet completes another full rotation around the sun, Thursday's solar eclipse reminds us how connected those of us on Earth can sometimes feel. The summer solstice display (depending on time zone) will persist for 38 seconds at the most.

Young stargazing enthusiast Soon Wei Kang also got his wish of watching a solar eclipse in person.

Upcoming annular ring-like eclipses forecast include June 2020, across a narrow band of Africa to northern Asia, and then in June 2021 - visible across the Arctic, Greenland and Canada. That will happen in 2023.

Why is the eclipse known as "annular?

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Interestingly enough, solar eclipses always occur within roughly two weeks of a lunar eclipse, because of the way the eclipse season works.

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