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Boatwright Memorial Library

Annular Vs. Total Eclipse

Annular Eclipse: 

When the moon is further away from the earth and passes between the sun and the earth causing an eclipse that does not completely cover the sun from view, this is called an annular eclipse. During one of these eclipses, you can see what is called the "ring of fire" effect where the sun creates a ring around the moon. 

Total Eclipse: 

During a total eclipse the moon passes between the earth and the sun completely blocking the sun from view for a brief period of time. 

While large areas might experience a percentage of a total eclipse, to be able to see the sun completely disappear you must be in what is called "the path of totality". 

Image Credits: Left: JAXA/NASA/SAO/NAOJ, Right: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
This product is supported by the NASA Heliophysics Activation Team (NASA HEAT), part of NASA's Science Activation portfolio.

2024 Total Solar Eclipse

2023 Annular Solar Eclipse

When will this happen again?

With the 2024 total eclipse, some portion of the eclipse will be visible from the entire contiguous United States. This will not happen again until August of 2044. 

There will be other eclipses between now and then, but what makes this eclipse special is it is a total eclipse and the contiguous United States visibility. 

**To see the full effect of the eclipse, you must be in the path of totality.**

Please remember to never look directly at the sun.