Science & Environment

Annular solar eclipse: Crowds in Asia gather to see 'ring of fire'

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Media captionThe 'ring of fire' eclipse witnessed across Asia

People across Asia are witnessing an annular solar eclipse, which is also known as a "ring of fire".

Crowds have gathered to watch the natural phenomenon in a number of countries, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Saudi Arabia.

In an annular eclipse, the moon covers the centre of the Sun, giving the appearance of a bright ring.

There are usually two solar eclipses on Earth every year, and they occur only when the Earth is completely or partially in the Moon's shadow.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The solar eclipse as seen earlier from central Myanmar
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Children use special glasses to watch the eclipse in Wan Twin, Myanmar
Image copyright AFP
Image caption A girl protects her eyes by watching the eclipse through an X-ray in Islamabad, Pakistan

The previous solar eclipse was on 2 July and was visible almost exclusively over South America. The next total solar eclipse will be on 14 December 2020, and will be visible across parts of southern Chile and Argentina, as well as south-west Africa and Antarctica.

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