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25 Dec, 2019 02:15

‘Ring of Fire’: Last solar eclipse of the decade & how to watch the Christmas treat in India, Philippines & Middle East

‘Ring of Fire’: Last solar eclipse of the decade & how to watch the Christmas treat in India, Philippines & Middle East

Parts of the Middle East, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Indonesia will be treated to a rare “ring” eclipse of the sun, the last of this decade, but people across the world can still watch it online without risking eye damage.

The new Moon will pass across the face of the Sun and cover 97 percent of it on December 26, leaving a distinctive “ring of fire” visible along a line 118 kilometers wide, stretching from Saudi Arabia to the Philippines.

The ring-shaped, or annular, eclipse occurs because the Moon is currently near its farthest orbital distance from the Earth, and won’t be quite large enough to cover the entire face of the Sun.

Sun-watchers in the Middle East will be able to see the phenomenon in the early morning. Those in southern India and Sri Lanka should shoot for mid-morning. In Indonesia, the phenomenon will happen in the early afternoon, and in the Philippines towards sunset.

Astronomer Fred Espenak has provided a table of exactly when the maximum extent of the eclipse will be visible in a number of cities across Asia, with local times. The ring of fire will be visible the longest – for three and a half minutes – just east of the island of Pulau Gin Besar in Indonesia.

Anyone interested in observing the eclipse directly should remember to use protective eyewear or pinhole projection devices. For the rest of humanity, multiple live feeds of the event will be available online, such as this one from the Institute of Astronomy Sri Lanka.

While this will be the last solar eclipse of both 2019 and the decade, there are two coming up in 2020. In June, a 99-percent ring eclipse will be visible for about a minute, from central Africa to China. There is also a total eclipse expected on December 14, in which the Sun will be covered for over two minutes in southern Argentina and Chile.

Also on rt.com 19th century ‘magic’ meets 21st technology as Victorian-era solar eclipse VIDEO restored to 4k

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