The “ring of fire” is coming.
On Thursday, some early risers in the Northern Hemisphere will behold the majestic vision of a partial or annular solar eclipse.
The annular eclipse will look like a ring of fire, as the moon crosses between the sun and Earth, blacking out a dark circle in the center of the sun and leaving a fiery fringe of red-orange light around its edge. (That’s occurring as the moon is currently farther away from us in its elliptical orbit, thus appearing smaller than the sun. If it were nearer to us, it would wholly block the sun, forming a total solar eclipse.)
This promises to be a spectacular show for those who can view it. For the annular eclipse, that’s people in parts of Canada, Greenland, Russia, and Siberia, according to NASA. The sun will become covered at 5:50 a.m. EDT and remain that way until 7:34 a.m. EDT, with the apex taking place exactly midway through.
The partial eclipse will be visible in some Northern Hemisphere countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States. During a partial eclipse, the moon, the sun, and the vantage point from Earth are not in perfect alignment, with the moon casting a sort of bite-shaped shadow on Earth.
In the United States, those who look skyward in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston around 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. EDT should be able to see what will look like a pair of bright, shining shark fins rising from the horizon.
If you do venture outside to catch a glimpse, remember to never gaze directly at the sun to prevent eye damage. Instead, use special eclipse glasses or craft a homemade pinhole camera.
Finally, if you’re thwarted by a lack of tools or poor weather, NASA will also be streaming the event here.