Annular eclipse over New Mexico, USA, on 20 May 2012
© ssucsy/Getty Image
Ring of fire
Today's homepage image shows an annular solar eclipse captured in the US state of New Mexico in 2012. ('Annular' is just a fancy word for doughnut-shaped.) It's not unlike the eclipse some northerly parts of the world will enjoy today.
Annular eclipses, commonly referred to as a ring of fire, occur when the Moon is at its apogee, or the furthest distance in its orbit from Earth. Since the Moon looks its smallest to us now, it can't fully cover the Sun - but the lucky few living in far northern Canada, Scandinavia and Siberia will have tickets to a one-ring solar circus, once everything lines up just right.
We won’t see the full ‘ring of fire’ from the UK but observers, wearing appropriate safety glasses of course, will be treated to a partial solar eclipse. when as much as 32% of the Sun will appear to be covered by the Moon.