The last solar eclipse of the decade is approaching, and it's a special one. This week brings an annular solar eclipse, which creates a "ring of fire" around it — a final Christmas celebration.
On December 26, people in parts of Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa will be in the path for viewing for the eclipse. People in other parts of the world can watch the entire event online.
What is an annular solar eclipse?
A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the Earth and the sun, completely blocking the sun's light. During an annular solar eclipse like this one, the moon does not completely cover the sun as it passes, leaving a glowing ring of sunlight around it.
According to NASA, an annular eclipse can only occur under specific conditions. The moon must be a new moon, meaning it is in its first lunar phase. It must also be further away from Earth on its elliptical orbit, appearing smaller in the sky than it usually would.
Because the moon appears smaller under these circumstances, it cannot fully eclipse the sun — so a "ring of fire" or "ring of light" is formed.
How to watch the annular solar eclipse
Looking at the sun is dangerous and can. If you are observing the eclipse in person, it's important to wear proper eye protection, such as .
Weather permitting, the eclipse will be visible from Saudi Arabia, where the sun rises as the "ring of fire," Qatar, the UAE, Oman, southern India, northern Sri Lanka, the Indian Ocean, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Guam, where the sun sets as the "ring of fire." A partial eclipse will also be visible across the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Australia.
The event will begin just before 10 p.m. EST on December 25 and end just after 3 a.m EST. A full list of cities and timing of the eclipse can be found at timeanddate.com.
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