A “ring of fire” solar eclipse crossed over Africa and Asia this weekend, and the view from space was spectacular.
A NASA astronaut living and working in space and a host of weather satellites all spotted the dramatic event as the moon’s shadow passed over Earth’s surface. Although the solar eclipse wasn’t visible from North America, it did happen to coincide with the U.S. celebration of Father’s Day on June 21.
“Super cool view of the Annular Solar Eclipse which passed by our starboard side as we flew over China this morning,” NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy wrote on Twitter. “A pretty neat way to wake up on Father’s Day morning! Hoping all of the dads in the world have a wonderful day!”
A “ring of fire” or annular eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth. But, unlike during a total solar eclipse, the moon isn’t close enough to Earth to block out all of the sun’s visible disk.
Instead, a thin ring of the sun’s disk remains visible around the moon’s shadow even at the midpoint of the eclipse, hence the phenomenon’s nickname.
Super cool view of the Annular Solar Eclipse which passed by our starboard side as we flew over China this morning. A pretty neat way to wake up on Father’s Day morning! Hoping all of the dads in the world have a wonderful day! #Eclipse #FathersDay #HappyFathersDay2020 pic.twitter.com/vJx5yOFAcbJune 21, 2020
But from space, an annular eclipse appears very similar to a total solar eclipse, and astronauts and satellites can spot the phenomenon by looking for a round shadow…