When to See the Next Annular, Total Solar Eclipses If You Miss June 2021's 'Ring of Fire'

Skywatchers around the world will be treated to a solar eclipse on Thursday morning, creating what is known as a "ring of fire" effect.

People in northern Canada, Greenland, and northeastern Russia will be able to see the "ring of fire" in full effect, as the moon passes in front of the sun and partially covers it.

Many areas of North America, Europe, western and northern Asia, and the North Atlantic Ocean will still be able to see a partial version.

The phenomenon is known as an annular solar eclipse, where the moon's coverage leaves just a sliver of the sun visible, creating a ring shape. A total eclipse, in contrast, is where the moon covers the sun entirely.

The distance between the sun, moon and Earth is what determines whether a total or annular eclipse occurs, as the Earth's orbit around the sun is elliptical, as is the moon's orbit around the Earth.

On Thursday, the sun will be close to the Earth while the moon will be far from the Earth. That means the moon won't appear big enough in the sky to cover the sun.

The solar eclipse will begin at 8:12 a.m. UTC (4:12 a.m. EST), with its visibility dependent on a person's location. In New York, for instance, the eclipse will start at 5:24 a.m., before reaching its maximum at 5:32 a.m., and ending at 6:30 a.m.

A number of online live streams will be available for those who wish to watch the eclipse.

When is the next solar eclipse?

For those who may have slept through Thursday morning's solar eclipse, there will of course be other opportunities to witness this celestial event, including in North America.

In total, there will be 224 solar eclipses visible from Earth in the 21st century.

On October 14, 2023, another annular solar eclipse will be visible to varying degrees in eight U.S. states: Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

Around six months later on April 8, 2024, a total eclipse will be seen in 13 U.S. states: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The last time the U.S. saw a total solar eclipse was in 2017. That event marked the first time a solar eclipse could be seen across the country in almost a century. The eclipse in 2024 will be almost two minutes longer than 2017's.

Regardless of the type of solar eclipse you are witnessing, it is important to protect your eyes, for instance, by using special glasses.

Diana Hannikainen, observing editor at Sky & Telescope magazine, recently told Newsweek: "Just remember: never look at the sun, even during an eclipse, without adequate eye protection."

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A person watches the total solar eclipse in Piedra del Aguila, Neuquen province, Argentina on December 14, 2020. The next total eclipse visible in the U.S. will be in 2024. RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images