100 Days Until Totality! 85 Days Left – What is an Annular Eclipse?

Credit: Daniel Lynch http://www.beingintheshadow.com

Another type of solar eclipse is the Annular eclipse. These eclipses are sometimes called “Ring of Fire” eclipses. The word Annular comes from the word “annulus,” which means ring. Annular eclipses occur because of slight variations in the Moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. If the Moon is a little farther away than its average distance it will appear smaller in the sky and will not cover up the Sun. Similarly, the Earth may be slightly closer to the Sun which will cause it to appear larger and poke out from behind the Moon.

While the Sun is mostly covered during an annular eclipse it is still NOT safe to view with the naked eye. The small ring of light around the Moon will still be emitting invisible ultraviolet light that will damage your vision.

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