'Ring of Fire' Eclipse Tonight

Annular solar eclipse visible from western US
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2012 8:41 AM CDT
Updated May 20, 2012 10:37 AM CDT
'Ring of Fire' Eclipse Sunday
An annular solar eclipse is seen formed over the sky of Male, Maldives, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.   (AP Photo/Sinan Hussain)

For the first time this century, the sun will partially disappear behind the moon over the US tonight, leaving a “ring of fire” around the moon in what is known as an annular eclipse. The solar event will be best viewed from 33 national parks that will experience the full effect, the Christian Science Monitor notes, but more than 100 other parks lay in the path of the eclipse and guests will be able to view at least a partial show. But sorry, East Coast: In the US, the Eastern Seaboard will be completely unable to see the event, which starts at 8:24pm—after sunset.

Many national parks in the west are planning viewing events, but for those who can’t make one, the Guardian helpfully reminds you not to stare directly at the sun, even during an eclipse—and you also need to use a solar filter if you plan to look through binoculars or a telescope. The annular eclipse, which last occurred in 1994, will also be visible from parts of Asia. (More solar eclipse stories.)

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