On June 21, Indians witnessed an annular eclipse, a ‘ring of fire’, when the Moon is so far from the Earth that it does not fully cover the Sun and leaves the outer rims visible. The annual eclipse started at 9:15 AM IST and was visible until 3:04 PM IST from parts of Asia, Africa, the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, Europe and Australia. This was the first eclipse of 2020.
Interestingly, this solar eclipse coincided with the summer solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere has the longest day.
The annular path also passes through Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Pakistan, and China.
A solar eclipse occurs on a new moon day when the Moon comes in between the Earth and the Sun and when all the three objects are aligned.
An annular solar eclipse will occur when the angular diameter of the Moon falls short of that of the Sun so that it cannot cover up the latter completely. As a result, a ring of the Sun’s disk remains visible around the Moon. This gives an image of a ring of fire.
The annular phase was visible on June 21 morning from some places within a narrow corridor of northern part of the country (parts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand). A few prominent places within this narrow annularity path are Dehradun, Kurukshetra, Chamoli, Joshimath, Sirsa, Suratgarh.