Solar Eclipse Livestream: How and When to Watch 'Ring of Fire' Live Online

A "ring of fire" solar eclipse will be visible across many parts of Africa and Asia on June 21. While stargazers in the Americas are set to miss out, they can still watch the event online.

The Virtual Telescope Project will be livestreaming the upcoming annular solar eclipse, with coverage beginning at 1:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday, June 21.

Time and Date will also be providing a livestream of the astronomical event beginning 1:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday.

Annular solar eclipses occur when a new moon passes in front of our sun, covering almost the entirety of the star's face apart from the very edges, leaving a circle of brilliant light—the characteristic "ring of fire." Annular eclipses are named after the Latin word for ring, "annulus."

"The landscape darkens a bit, but not nearly as much as during a total solar eclipse, and you can't see the solar corona," Rick Fienberg, a spokesperson for the American Astronomical Society, told Newsweek.

The annular eclipse will not be visible in the Americas because the event takes place during the night in this region of the world.

"Obviously an eclipse occurs during daytime, when the sun is up, so if it occurs on one side of the planet, the other side misses out because it's nighttime," Fienberg said.

An annular solar eclipse can only occur when a new moon is located at its farthest point from Earth, what's known as its "apogee."

Not everyone will be able to see the characteristic ring of fire during these events, however. In fact, only people living within a narrow "path of annularity" will be able to see the phenomenon, although a partial eclipse will be visible from a wider region.

annular solar eclipse
This combination of photos shows an annular solar eclipse, as seen from the Estancia El Muster, near Sarmiento, Chubut province, Argentina, on February 26, 2017. ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP via Getty Images

"For the June 21 annular solar eclipse, the path of annularity begins in central Africa then sweeps across south Asia—including Pakistan and northern India and China—and out into the Pacific Ocean. A partial eclipse will be seen more widely across Africa, southeast Europe and Asia," Fienberg said.

Overall, the annular eclipse will last for around six hours, with maximum eclipse set to take place at 6:40 a.m. UTC, or 2:40 a.m. EDT. So what can people living in the path of annularity expect to see?

"As with all solar eclipses, the event begins with the moon taking its first small bite out of the sun. Over the next hour or so the bite gets bigger, and the sun shrinks to a thin crescent. Within the path of annularity, the moon will then slide fully onto the disk of the sun for between about 40 seconds and 1¼ minutes, depending on your location, during which you'll see a very thin 'ring of fire' around the moon's silhouette," Fienberg said.

"Then the moon will begin to exit the sun's face on the opposite side, and the partial phase will repeat in reverse, with the sun now growing from a thin crescent to a thicker one and finally back to a full round disk."

If you happen to be in a region where you can witness this year's annular eclipse, remember that you should never look directly at the event without using eye protection, such as a special-purpose solar filter.