There’s going to be an annular solar eclipse on Feb. 26, 2017. Although this month’s eclipse is not visible in the United States, it’s kicking off the six-month countdown until the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, the first visible in the US since 1979. So what’s an annular solar eclipse? When the Moon covers the Sun’s center, leaving the Sun’s visible outer edges to form a “ring of fire”, or annulus around the Moon, an annular solar eclipse happens. An annular solar eclipse occur only:

– Around a new Moon when the Earth and Sun are aligned on opposite sides of the Moon.
– The Moon and Sun must be near a lunar node forming an almost perfect line between the Sun, the Moon, and Earth.

The annular solar eclipse occurs 6 months before the “Great American Eclipse,” Aug. 21, 2017, that will be visible in the United States for the first time in 37 years.

Where to watch the ‘ring of fire’ eclipse?

This eclipse begins west of Southern Chile and ends over Angola, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. A partial eclipse (a total of 1 minute and 22 seconds) will be visible over most of South America, Africa, and Antarctica.

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Map showing where the annular solar eclipse of February 26, 2017 will be observable. via VK

If astronomy is your jam, you can track the eclipse from NASA’s interactive Google map.

This celestial event is a countdown for the total solar eclipse, also known as the “Great American Eclipse,” Aug. 21 that will be visible in the United States for the first time in 37 years.