The Last Solar Eclipse of 2019 Will Happen in December and It Will Create a Spectacular "Ring of Fire" in the Sky

The Last Solar Eclipse of 2019 Will Happen in December and It Will Create a Spectacular "Ring of Fire" in the Sky

This phenomenon is certainly one that shouldn't be missed but it is dangerous to view directly and precautions need to be taken for your safety.

As Christmas closes in on us, nature too has a gift for us. Although it is one that comes a day later than the holiday, it is a spectacle to behold. In fact, it is that will create a "ring of fire" in the sky, as the last annular solar eclipse of the year takes place.

What is an annular solar eclipse?

According to Time and Date, an annular solar eclipse occurs "when the Moon covers the Sun's center, leaving the Sun's visible outer edges to form a “ring of fire” or annulus around the Moon." And, unlike a normal solar eclipse wherein the sun is completely covered by the moon, this Christmas, the moon will cover 97% of the center of the sun.

This eclipse will the final one in 2019 after the last total solar eclipse occurred on July 2 and a partial solar eclipse took place on January 6.


When and where is it happening?

On December 26, 2019, starting at 2:29 AM UTC, the eclipse will continue on till around 8:05 AM. The point of maximum eclipse is said to occur at 5:17 AM with the phenomenon lasting 3 minutes and 40 seconds. Those living in Saudi Arabia, Oman, southern India, and parts of Indonesia will be able to witness this beautiful moment while those staying in parts of North/East Africa, and North/West Australia will be able to see a partial eclipse. Those in the western hemisphere like US, Europe and South America will not be under the coverage of this eclipse.


Why doesn't the moon cover the sun fully?

Though the new moon will pass right in front of the sun, due to its distance from the Earth, its apparent size is 3% smaller than that of the sun, according to Space.com. And this year, the moon is even further from our planet which means that the tip of the moon's cone of darkest shadow, called the umbra, will miss reaching Earth's surface. So it won't look like a grand total solar eclipse, excluding the "ring of fire" though. However, if you are planning to watch it, you will need to be careful as this is a very dangerous phenomenon to look at directly.

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What are the precautions that need to be taken?

Looking at the sun even on a normal day with the naked eye is never recommended as it can cause vision problems. So when it comes to this annular solar eclipse, it is even more dangerous. Though the moon will block 97% of the sun, not enough of the sun's light is blocked to be able to view it. The sun’s rays can burn the retinas in the eyes leading to permanent damage or even blindness, says Time and Date. At all times eclipse glasses will be needed, as will solar filters on the front of telescopes or binoculars. However, you might notice the light levels dip around you for a few moments before or after the moon blocks the sun.

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