Watch the Ring-of-Fire Solar Eclipse Happening in Africa

By Ria Misra on at

We will never, ever tell you to stare at the sun. Fortunately, we have a far better way for you to get a glimpse of the ring-of-fire solar eclipse over central Africa.

Above you'll find the feed of the eclipse as it happened (it's not the best quality – here's an alternative link to see it in better quality).

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, temporarily blocking out its light. A ring-of-fire eclipse is, more prosaically, also just called an annular eclipse, to distinguish it from a total eclipse of the sun. As the name suggests, during a total eclipse the path of the moon totally covers the sun during its peak, like so:

How to Watch the Ring-of-Fire Solar Eclipse 

Total solar eclipse (Image: NASA)

During an annular eclipse although the moon blocks out most of the sun, the moon’s path lets a bit of sun stay visible through the whole thing. That means that, during the peak, it looks like someone had punched straight through the sun’s centre with a cookie cutter, leaving only the outer ring behind.

How to Watch the Ring-of-Fire Solar Eclipse 

A composite of the 2012 annular eclipse over the grand canyon (Image: Grand Canyon National Park)

How to Watch the Ring-of-Fire Solar Eclipse 

2016 annular solar eclipse path (Image: A. T. Sinclair - NASA)

The ring-of-fire eclipse taking place in the early Thursday morning hours will be visible primarily over central Africa, with the island of Madagascar also getting a pretty good look. If you do happen to be in one of the areas, don’t simply look up. Instead, you should use a special solar filter or NASA has some instructions on how to make your own DIY projector with which to watch the whole thing without searing your retinas.