AN awe-inspiring solar eclipse is due to grace skies across the globe next week.
The “ring of fire” eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun – and only a few people around the world will witness it.
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1) When is the next solar eclipse?
The annular solar eclipse will see the Sun, Moon and Earth align on Thursday, June 10.
The Moon will partly obscure the image of the Sun for viewers on Earth, creating a spectacular effect for sky gazers.
The June 10 event is a “ring of fire” eclipse, named after the red halo that appears around the Sun during the alignment.
As the Moon covers the centre of the Sun, the edges will emit a glowing circle creating an illuminated “ring of fire”.
It will not be a total eclipse, a rare form of eclipse during which the Sun is completely obscured by the Moon.
2) Where will you be able to see the solar eclipse in the UK and US?
The spectacle will be visible over swathes of North America, including parts of the US and Canada, according to astronomers.
According to experts at the Farmers’ Almanac, the “weird and dramatic” event will begin at around 5.24am ET with the point of maximum eclipse reached about eight minutes later.
The spectacle is expected to last for about one hour and six minutes.
The Farmers’ Almanac said: “The viewing zone will fall anywhere north and east of a line running roughly from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to Evansville, Indiana, extending on to the Atlantic coast near Savannah, Georgia.
“Depending on where you are, if your sky is clear, the rising Sun will be somewhat unusual and appear slightly dented, deeply crescent-shaped, or ring-shaped.”
In the UK, observers will see as much as 32 per cent of the Sun covered by the Moon.
That means Brit sky gazers won’t see the “ring of fire” spectacle that’s on offer for US viewers.
Instead, the Moon will appear to take a bite out of the Sun at around 10:10 BST.
It will reach maximum eclipse shortly afterwards and then move off the Sun by 13:21 BST on June 10.
3) When is the next total eclipse?
Solar eclipses are fairly common, with between two and five happening every year.
A total eclipse, in which the Sun is completely obscured, is visible from somewhere on Earth around once every 18 months.
The next total solar eclipse will be on December 4, 2021.
However, you’ll have to travel to Antarctica to see the total phase of the eclipse.
Parts of southern Africa, including soits in South Africa and Namibia, will see a partial solar eclipse.
Unfortunately, the UK will not see a total solar eclipse again until September 23, 2090.
4) What is a solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse takes place when the sun, moon and earth align together in a straight line.
The moon blocks the sun’s rays and gives people a chance to witness its fiery corona.
Astronomer Patrick McCarthy is the vice president of the GMT and told the BBC that anyone who witnesses a solar eclipse is completely “mesmerised” by it.
“Going into a total solar eclipse is a remarkable feeling,’” he said.
“The colours get bluer, the shadows change and everything on the ground looks washed out. It’s as if the world is becoming darker, almost monochromatic.”
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Stargazers will also want to check out our guide for when to spot every lunar eclipse until 2030.
Read about the wacky Blood Moon conspiracy theories here.
And read about the space mysteries Nasa still can’t explain.
Will you be tuning in to watch the solar eclipse? Let us know in the comments!
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