The moon will mask the sun this week in a solar eclipse that will make the sun look like a cosmic “ring of fire."
The ring-shaped solar eclipse, known as an annular eclipse, will occur on Thursday and Friday Eastern Time, Space.com reports. Depending on the weather, viewers will be able to see the eclipse in parts of Australia and the Southern Pacific Ocean, where it will be Friday.
The Hawaiian Islands, other parts of Australia, the southern Philippines, eastern Indonesia, some parts in Papua New Guinea and a small section of New Zealand will be able to see a partial show, astronomers told the space site.
"Solar eclipses can be inspirational to students and others, so it is interesting to have everyone view the eclipse, but only safe methods of viewing should be used," Jay Pasachoff, an astronomer at Williams College and chair of the International Astronomical Union's working group on eclipses, told Space.com.
Even though the moon at the height of its eclipse will cover 95 percent of the sun, the daytime sky won’t seem any darker to the naked eye, he said.
That’s why special protective lenses, camera and telescope filters and other methods of protection should be used when observing the annular event. Severe damage can be done to one’s eyes if proper safety measures aren’t observed during the rare event.
Solar eclipses happen when the moon passes in between Earth and its sun. The moon’s shadow is cast on the Earth, but because of its orbit the moon appears nearly 5 percent smaller, which helps create the “ring of fire” appearance, Space.com said.