Solar eclipse on December 26 to have a ‘ring of fire’: Everything you need to know

Solar Eclipse 2019 Date and Time: Solar Eclipse of December 26 will be an annular eclipse with a 'ring of fire'. (Image: Pixabay/bairi)

Solar Eclipse 2019 Date and Time: The last solar eclipse of the year will be an annular eclipse falling on December 26 over the Eastern hemisphere of the earth. People from India, Saudia Arabia, Qatar, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Marina Islands, and Borneo will be able to see the celestial event, which is also known as the "ring of fire".

What is the annular solar eclipse and "ring of fire"

A solar eclipse happens when the Moon comes between the path of the Sun and the Earth, casting its shadow on the planet. The upcoming solar eclipse is an 'annular' eclipse which is quite different from a total solar eclipse. While in the latter, the moon completely blocks the Sun, in an annular eclipse, the moon blocks the Sun from the centre but leaves the rims visible. Thus creating a "ring of fire".

At this time of the year, the moon is furthest away from the Earth. Thus, its apparent size in the sky is not large enough to completely cover the Sun. So, it creates an annular solar eclipse or the "ring of fire" instead of a total solar eclipse. The upcoming celestial event will also be witnessed as a partial solar eclipse in other parts of the world including the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, north-western Australia, and southern and eastern parts of Asia.

NASA tracks the path of the annular eclipse of December 26 on Google Maps.

December 26 annular eclipse sighting in India

The annular solar eclipse of December 26 will begin approximately 180 kilometres west of Dammam in eastern Saudi Arabia, reported Eclipseportal. In India, the eclipse will reach from the west coast of Southern India and the path will cross in a south-easterly direction.

Based on NASA's map on the December 26 eclipse, Coimbatore will be the first major city to see the annular eclipse. Other cities on the path across Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu will also be able to see the "ring of fire".

Eclipse timing in India

The partial eclipse will begin at 8:04 am when the moon touches the sun’s edge, the Hindu reported. The annular phase starts at 9:24 am and the full eclipse will be visible by then. The maximum eclipse will start at 9:26 am when the moon is closest to the centre of the sun. The full eclipse will end by 9:27 am and by 11:05 am, the moon will leave the edges of the Sun, ending the partial eclipse.

If you are in a part of the world where you can directly witness the solar eclipse, do not try to see it with naked eyes. It is recommended to use only solar eclipse glasses instead of ordinary sunglasses or polaroid filters.