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The moon moves in front of the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse in Bangkok on December 26, 2019. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP) — AFP or licensors

In pictures: 'Ring of fire' eclipse wows across Asia

The next annual eclipse in June 2020 will be visible to a narrow band from Africa to northern Asia.
Updated Dec 26, 2019 12:18pm

Skywatchers from Saudi Arabia and Oman to India and Pakistan and Singapore were treated to a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse on Thursday.

Annular eclipses occur when the Moon is not close enough to the Earth to completely obscure the Sun, leaving a thin ring of the solar disc visible.

While these types of eclipses occur every year or two, they are only visible from a narrow band of Earth each time and it can be decades before the same pattern is repeated.

Depending on weather conditions, this year's astronomical phenomenon was set to be visible from the Middle East across southern India and Southeast Asia before ending over the northern Pacific.

The next annual eclipse in June 2020 will be visible to a narrow band from Africa to northern Asia. The following one in June 2021 will only be seen in the Arctic and parts of Canada, Greenland and the remote Russian far east.

The moon passes between the sun and the earth during an annular solar eclipse in Singapore on December 26. — Reuters
The moon passes between the sun and the earth during an annular solar eclipse in Singapore on December 26. — Reuters

Children watch the solar eclipse through a foot X-ray as the moon covers the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from Islamabad on December 26. — AFP
Children watch the solar eclipse through a foot X-ray as the moon covers the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from Islamabad on December 26. — AFP

A girl watches a solar eclipse through a foot X-ray as the moon covers the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from Islamabad on Thursday. — AFP
A girl watches a solar eclipse through a foot X-ray as the moon covers the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from Islamabad on Thursday. — AFP

The moon begins to cover the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen behind a Christmas tree star in Bangkok on December 26. — AFP
The moon begins to cover the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen behind a Christmas tree star in Bangkok on December 26. — AFP

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was unable to see the Sun due to cloud cover but did catch a glimpse of the eclipse in Kozhikode and other parts on the livestream. In a tweet, he added that he had enriched his knowledge on the subject by interacting with experts. — PM Modi Twitter
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was unable to see the Sun due to cloud cover but did catch a glimpse of the eclipse in Kozhikode and other parts on the livestream. In a tweet, he added that he had enriched his knowledge on the subject by interacting with experts. — PM Modi Twitter

A girl uses a telescope to watch the moon covering the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from the south Indian city of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu state on December 26. — AFP
A girl uses a telescope to watch the moon covering the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from the south Indian city of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu state on December 26. — AFP

The moon totally covers the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from the south Indian city of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu state on December 26. — AFP
The moon totally covers the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from the south Indian city of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu state on December 26. — AFP

A man uses his mobile phone to take a picture of a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse in Wan Twin in central Myanmar on December 26. — AFP
A man uses his mobile phone to take a picture of a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse in Wan Twin in central Myanmar on December 26. — AFP

An airplane flies past as the moon moves in front of the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from Hanoi on December 26. — AFP
An airplane flies past as the moon moves in front of the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from Hanoi on December 26. — AFP

A Muslim cleric leads the special or "Kusoof" prayers at the Faisal mosque during a solar eclipse in Islamabad on December 26. — AP
A Muslim cleric leads the special or "Kusoof" prayers at the Faisal mosque during a solar eclipse in Islamabad on December 26. — AP

A woman uses solar filter glasses to watch the moon covering the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from the south Indian city of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu state on December 26. — AFP
A woman uses solar filter glasses to watch the moon covering the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from the south Indian city of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu state on December 26. — AFP

The moon totally covers the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from the south Indian city of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu state on December 26. — AFP
The moon totally covers the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from the south Indian city of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu state on December 26. — AFP

An Emirati woman views an annular solar eclipse in Madinat Zayed in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on December 26. — Reuters
An Emirati woman views an annular solar eclipse in Madinat Zayed in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on December 26. — Reuters

A child uses eclipse glasses to watch a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse in Wan Twin in central Myanmar on December 26. — AFP
A child uses eclipse glasses to watch a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse in Wan Twin in central Myanmar on December 26. — AFP

A partial solar eclipse moves behind a statue in Islamabad on Thursday. — AP
A partial solar eclipse moves behind a statue in Islamabad on Thursday. — AP

People use eclipse viewing glasses and welding equipment to watch the moon covering the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from the south Indian city of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu state on December 26. — AFP
People use eclipse viewing glasses and welding equipment to watch the moon covering the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from the south Indian city of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu state on December 26. — AFP

Boys use their mobile phone and solar viewers to take photographs of annular solar eclipse in Cheruvathur town in the southern state of Kerala, India on December 26. — Reuters
Boys use their mobile phone and solar viewers to take photographs of annular solar eclipse in Cheruvathur town in the southern state of Kerala, India on December 26. — Reuters

The moon starts to move in front of the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse, as seen from Wan Twin in central Myanmar on December 26. — AFP
The moon starts to move in front of the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse, as seen from Wan Twin in central Myanmar on December 26. — AFP

A child watches the moon move in front of the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse in Banda Aceh on December 26. — AFP
A child watches the moon move in front of the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse in Banda Aceh on December 26. — AFP


Header photo: The moon moves in front of the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse in Bangkok on December 26. — AFP