Watch a “ring of fire” solar eclipse as it darkens Africa’s skies

An annular solar eclipse in 2012.
An annular solar eclipse in 2012.
Image: Reuters/Toru Hanai
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An “annular” eclipse is darkening the skies above much of Africa today (Sept. 1) as the moon passes between the earth and the sun. Unlike in a total eclipse, during an annular eclipse the moon does not completely blot out the sun but is instead framed by reddish sunlight around its edges. For this reason, it is better known as a ”ring of fire” eclipse.

The eclipse is tracing a 100-mile path across central Africa, from Gabon in the west to Tanzania in the east, Mozambique in the south, and also over the island of Madagascar. Viewers in southern Tanzania will see the longest eclipse. Countries nearby will see a partial eclipse, like this view from South Africa:

You can watch the livestream here from the Slooh Community Observatory in the Canary Islands with footage from South Africa, Tanzania, Madagascar, and Réunion Island.

“We’re in for one heck of a ride as we follow the moon’s shadow as it races across the surface of the Earth at over 2,000 mph,” said Paul Cox, an astronomer with Slooh, ahead of the solar event.

Across the continent, people have been gazing up at the sky. In Madagascar, government workers and students were sent home for the morning, according to the BBC.

Over the next decade there will be only three more of such eclipses.

Image: NASA