Rare total eclipses of the Sun can blot out the burning star for minutes at a time when it crosses paths with the Moon. These spectacles of astronomy only happen once every 18 months or so and rarely appear over the same part of the planet. There are, however, more frequent eclipses that can partially bite into the glowing face of the star.
These are partial eclipses and annular eclipses of the Sun, both of which are spectacular in their own rights.
During a partial eclipse, the Sun and Moon are slightly misaligned and only a fragment of the Sun’s turns dark.
During an annular eclipse, a smaller-than-usual Moon steps in front of the Sun, leaving a burning halo around its edges.
The good news is astronomers expect such an annular eclipse to appear next month.
When is the next solar eclipse? When is the annular eclipse?
After the excitement of a total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019, stargazers are on the lookout for exciting astronomical events.
The event passed over parts of South America, completely shrouding the Sun and turning daytime into the night.
But the next solar eclipse is just around the corner and the annular eclipse will be just as beautiful to watch.
Astronomers predict the annular eclipse will unfold on December 26.
Where will the annular eclipse be visible?
This time around, the solar eclipse will stick to the Far East, passing over swathes of Asia and the Middle East.
Space agency NASA said: “An annular eclipse happens when the Moon is farthest from Earth.
“Because the Moon is farther away from Earth, it seems smaller and does not block the entire view of the Sun.
“Never look at the Sun during any type of solar eclipse. Looking at the Sun is dangerous. It can damage your eyes.”
Because the Moon is slightly smaller than usual, the shadow it casts on Earth’s surface is also small.
And people living outside of the direct path of totality will only see a partial eclipse of the Sun.