This Weekend’s Solar Eclipse Will Be First Like It Since 1994

Videos Highlighting The Latest Search Trends.
May 16 2012 5:12 PM

This Weekend’s Solar Eclipse Will Be First Like It Since 1994

A solar eclipse May 21 is the first of its kind since 1994, visible from a wide area of Earth.

Photo by DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images

Keep your eyes to the skies this weekend—a special solar eclipse is headed our way.

The annular eclipse, which has the moon passing directly in the way of our view of the sun on Sunday, is the first of its kind since 1994. But it won’t be a total eclipse because the moon is farther from Earth than usual; instead you’ll see a ring of fire around the moon.

The phenomenon happens twice a year, but is usually only visible by a small fraction of the Earth's surface. This eclipse will be visible in China and Japan on May 21 and for the first time in 18 years by continental western states, California, Nevada, and Arizona on May 20, but not on the East Coast, where the sun will have already set. Those in the Northeast will have to wait for the total eclipse in 2017.

For those who will get a glimpse of the annular eclipse this weekend, though, don’t forget mom’s advice. If you don’t have a solar filter, a pinhole projector, or some special solar-safe viewing glasses, you better refrain from staring—otherwise the next eclipse might be a lot harder to see.


Video produced by Krishnan Vasuvedan.

Correction: This article originally stated the ring around the moon during the solar eclipse would be visible because the moon is closer to Earth than usual; the ring will be visible because the moon is farther away.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 10:23 AM From Fringe to Mainstream: How We Learned to Panic About Terrorists Crossing the Border
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
The Vault
Sept. 18 2014 9:57 AM “The Sun Never Sets Upon the British Empire,” Explained in GIF by an Old Children’s Toy
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Sept. 18 2014 8:53 AM The Other Huxtable Effect Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 10:07 AM “The Day It All Ended” A short story from Hieroglyph, a new science fiction anthology.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?