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The first solar eclipse of 2017 will offer a ‘ring of fire’ view


The first solar eclipse of 2017 will be offering onlookers a ‘ring of fire’ view on Sunday with people living in Southern Hemisphere countries getting a much better view of the phenomenon.

According to information provided by observatories around the world, skygazers in South America and South African countries will be on the front-row seat to the spectacle. If you happen to be in the 100-kilometre (62-mile) band cutting through Chile, Argentina, Angola, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo you will be witnessing the best solar eclipse of the day.

This solar eclipse will be an annular solar eclipse and it occurs when the Earth, Moon and Sun line up. Moon will not be in a position to completely block out the Sun during the total eclipse and this will end up creating a fiery ring of fire.

The eclipse will start off slowly and it will appear as if the moon has taken a bite out from the Sun. Slowly they moon will cover the entire sun and turn the day into night momentarily. At its peak, the moon will be right in the middle of the Sun, leaving “a perfect, beautiful, symmetrical ring” of light around the edge.

People viewing the eclipse from outside of the band will not be a symmetrical ring, but instead will see a ring of fire that is thicker on one side. It will take about two hours for the Moon to move across the face of the Sun, but the “ring of fire” peak will last a mere minute.

As per the timeline provided by observatories, the eclipse will hit solid land at 1221 GMT in southern Chile, near the town of Coyhaique, then cut through Argentina – near Camarones Bay on the eastern coast – before hitting the South Atlantic. If you are on the sea, the eclipse peak will last 44 seconds and will only be visible if you are at the right place at the right time.

It will reach Angola south of the town of Benguela around 1515 GMT, then move to Zambia and DR Congo just before the Sun sets and the light show ends.

Astronomers and experts around the world are urging viewers to ensure that they do not observe the eclipse with the naked eye and proper protective glasses need to be used at all times.

According to the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa (ASSA), the eclipse can be safely observed using a basic pinhole projector. To do that you can punch a tiny hole in a piece of paper with a sharp pencil, hold it into the Sun, and project the image onto a second sheet. The gaps between tree leaves make for a similar effect on the ground, says the ASSA website, calling this “the coolest and safest way to watch a solar eclipse”.

Editor’s Note: Article updated with correct Image. Thanks tristan for bringing it to our attention.