Solar Eclipse 'Ring of Fire' to Appear the Day After Summer Solstice

This month, a spectacular "ring of fire" solar eclipse will be visible from some parts of the world, just a day after the June solstice.

Solar eclipses occur when the moon moves between the sun and Earth, blocking the star's light and casting a shadow on parts of the Earth (the shadow is never big enough to cover the whole planet at once.)

There are four main types of solar eclipse, but the one that will begin at 12:47 a.m. EDT on June 21 is known as an "annular eclipse."

These astronomical events occur 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, EarthSky reported.

The ring of fire will only be visible to people living along the centerline, which begins in the Republic of the Congo in central Africa, extends through countries including Ethiopia, Pakistan, India ad China, and ends in Taiwan.

However, people across a much wider region on either side of this line—including parts of southern and eastern Europe, most of Asia, most of Africa, the very north of Australia and large chunks of the Pacific and Indian oceans—will be able to see at least a partial solar eclipse, where the moon only partially obscures the sun's disk, reported.

Unfortunately, those of us in the Americas won't be able to see the eclipse, because the event will be over before the sun rises.

annular solar eclipse
Picture taken on February 26, 2017 showing 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

The annular eclipse will be visible just a day after the June solstice, which takes place at 5:43 p.m. EDT, on Saturday 20.

This moment marks the point in the year when the Earth's north pole is tilted furthest toward the sun. Although the term "solstice" technically refers to a specific time, people commonly use the word to refer to the entire day on which it falls.

In the northern hemisphere, the June, or "summer," solstice marks the end of spring and the start of summer in astrological terms. The day it falls on is the longest of the year in this part of the planet, featuring the most hours of sunlight and the shortest night.

In the southern hemisphere, meanwhile, the June 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.