A 'Ring of Fire' Solar Eclipse Will Dim the Sky This Week. Here's How to See It.

Just remember to take safety precautions to protect your eyes from the sun.

how to see ring of fire solar eclipse
A view of the "ring of fire" solar eclipse from 2019. | Photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA/AFP via Getty Images
A view of the "ring of fire" solar eclipse from 2019. | Photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA/AFP via Getty Images

Just a couple of weeks after a stunning total lunar eclipse, we're getting another eclipse. This time it's an annular solar eclipse or, as it's sometimes called, a "ring of fire" solar eclipse. It is never referred to as a Johnny Cash eclipse, but if you want to do that, most people will figure it out eventually. 

The dazzling eclipse will arrive for US and Canadian viewers early on the morning of Thursday, June 10, so you're going to need to set an alarm. It's called a ring of fire because instead of blocking out the sun entirely, as it does during a total solar eclipse, the moon will only block out most of the sun from our perspective. That leaves a fiery ring of sunlight around the black shadow of the moon. As you can see in a photos of previous annual solar eclipses (one is shown above), they're absolutely spectacular.

However, if you want to see the full ring of fire, you'll need to be in a relatively narrow line (shown as the darkest shadow on the map below) that runs through Canada, Greenland, and Russia. Everyone outside of that line is getting a partial solar eclipse. You'll be able to see some of that partial eclipse in eastern Canada, northern Europe, Russia, the northeast US, and Greenland, according to NASA

Since this eclipse is happening at sunrise, it would behoove you to find a place to watch with a clear view along the eastern horizon. As the sun rises, it will already look like the moon has taken a bite out of the sun, per NASA. It's a major stargazing moment worth waking up early to see. You won't regret it.

What is an annular solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse takes place when the new moon is situated between the Earth and the sun, blocking light from the sun. During a total solar eclipse, the moon briefly and completely blocks out the sun's light. That's not the case with an annular solar eclipse.

During an event like the one on June 10, the moon is too far from the Earth in its elliptical orbit to completely block out the sun. Instead, when it's perfectly situated in front of the sun, a ring of light is left around the outside of the moon's shadow. Live Science describes it as being similar to setting a penny on top of a nickel. You can see all of the penny (the moon) and a thin ring of silver (the sun) around the outside of the penny. That, however, is seen in a relatively small area of Earth. Elsewhere, a partial lunar eclipse is visible. For anyone seeing a partial solar eclipse, it looks almost like the moon has taken a bite out of the sun, which is also an incredible sight.

ring of fire solar eclipse 2021
Image via NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory YouTube

Where is the eclipse visible?

May's lunar eclipse was visible in the Pacific. Inside the US, it was the West Coast that was able to get a view of the event. In the case of this solar eclipse, the Northeast will have the best view inside the US. In the above map from NASA's "What's Up" video series, the darkest line cutting through Canada is where the "ring of fire" eclipse will be seen. The other shaded areas are places where a partial solar eclipse will be visible.

how to see solar eclipse 2021
Image via NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory YouTube

Can you look at the eclipse?

As is the case with any solar eclipse, you should not look directly at it with the naked eye. That could result in eye damage. (You're staring at the sun, after all.) To view an eclipse, you should purchase eclipse glasses or use another device to look at the eclipse's shadow on the ground.

There are lots of options to safely view a solar eclipse. It's worth the effort because it will be a beautiful sight. 

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.