'Ring of Fire' Solar Eclipse Marks Last of 2019

On January 4, 2011, the Hinode satellite captured these breathtaking images of an annular solar eclipse. NASA/Hinode/XRT

A few select countries had the opportunity to see the last solar eclipse of 2019.

For those who live in Europe, Asia, Australia or Africa, it was a celestial treat!

On Dec. 26, countries including Saudi Arabia, India, Singapore, the Philippines and some parts of Australia saw a "ring of fire" solar eclipse to wrap up the end of the year.

In the video above, you can see the eclipse happening, along with commentary. In the video below, you can see the path of the eclipse. The red dot marks the totality point, and the shadow shows where you would have seen a partial eclipse.

Nearly everyone in the United States remembers the 2017 solar eclipse, but unlike that one, this eclipse left a sliver of the sun when hitting the point of totality. This type of eclipse is defined as an annular eclipse.

How it happens

So, what had to align for this to occur? The ring of fire is due to the distance between Earth and our moon. For this eclipse, the moon was farther from Earth, which in turn made it appear 3% smaller than the sun when viewed from Earth.

Although the two types of eclipses differ in appearance and longevity, they both share in the requirement of the moon and sun aligning.

This also marks the start of eclipse season spanning into January 2020, which ends with a penumbral lunar eclipse on Jan. 10. Unfortunately this type of an eclipse is hard to distinguish from a usual full moon, but it's still beautiful nonetheless.