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Watch a ‘Ring of Fire’ eclipse on the Web

Annular Solar Eclipse
A montage of images shows the progression of an annular solar eclipse in May 2012, as seen from Red Bluff, Calif. (Brocken Inaglory Photo via Wikimedia – CC BY-SA 3.0)

Skywatchers in South America and Africa will be seeing an unusual “Ring of Fire” solar eclipse on Feb. 26, and the rest of us should be able to look over their shoulders online.

But you might have to get up before sun-up to catch the show.

The event is known as an annular solar eclipse, with “annular” coming from the Latin word for “ring.”

All solar eclipses take place when the moon comes between Earth and the sun, blocking out the sun’s disk. If the orbital mechanics are such that the moon totally blocks the disk, that’s a total eclipse. But if the moon is too far away from Earth to cover all of the sun, the bright edge of the disk is still exposed at the height of the event. Hence the ring of fire.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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