'Ring of Fire': When Will the Next Solar Eclipse Be?

Today (June 21, 2020) marks the sighting of the annular solar eclipse—an occurrence that happens every one or two years. But when is the next one?

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the next eclipse will happen on December 14, 2020. However, this eclipse will be a total solar eclipse—when the moon completely covers the sun.

NASA has created a catalog of eclipses that will take place until the year 3000. According to this, the next annular eclipse will happen on June 10, 2021, with another total eclipse in December 2021.

A "ring of fire" solar eclipse occurs when the moon is at apogee—its farthest distance from the Earth—and passes directly in front of the sun. At maximum eclipse, the moon's disk covers the vast majority of the sun, apart from the star's far outer edges, which remain visible as a "ring of fire" in the sky.

On June 10, 2021, the regions that will see a partial solar eclipse, minimum, will include the majority of Europe, Asia, north and west Africa, much of North America, the Atlantic and Arctic. However, according to timeanddate.com, no region will have 100 percent visibility.

How often do eclipses happen?

According to Britannica, in each calendar year there are usually two lunar eclipses, though in some years this has varied from none, one or three. However, solar eclipses occur two to five times a year—according to Britannica, there last were five solar eclipses in 1935 and there will not be five again until 2206. The average number of total solar eclipses in a century is 66 for Earth as a whole.

Numbers of solar eclipses that have taken place or are predicted to take place during the 21st to 25th centuries are:

  • 2001–2100: 224 eclipses
  • 2101–2200: 235 eclipses
  • 2201–2300: 248 eclipses
  • 2301–2400: 248 eclipses
  • 2401–2500: 237 eclipses

The following solar eclipses are predicted by NASA for the next decade:

  • June 10, 2021: Annular
  • December 4, 2021: Total
  • April 20, 2023: Hybrid
  • October 14, 2023: Annular
  • April 8, 2024: Total
  • October 2, 2024: Annular
  • February 17, 2026: Annular
  • August 12, 2026: Total
  • February 6, 2027: Annular
  • August 2, 2027: Total
  • January 26, 2028: Annular
  • July 22, 2028: Total
  • June 1, 2030: Annular
  • November 25, 2030: Total

Whereas this year's annular eclipse fell on the summer solstice, it looks like we won't see another one on the same day within this decade. The summer solstice is the beginning of summer and has the longest amount of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere during the year.

In the southern hemisphere, the solstice marks the end of fall and the beginning of winter. In this region, June 20 is the shortest day of the year, with the least hours of sunlight and the longest night.

NASA Solar Eclipse
As Europe enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on the morning of Friday 20 March 2015, ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 minisatellite had a ringside seat from orbit. Proba-2 used its SWAP imager to capture the Moon passing in front of the Sun in a near-totality. SWAP views the solar disc at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths to capture the turbulent surface of the Sun and its swirling corona. ESA/Proba-2