Rare 'ring of fire' solar eclipse: Hypnotizing pictures from across the globe

A stunning annular eclipse swept across parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia Sunday and the cameras were clicking.

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Jackson Ryan was CNET's science editor, and a multiple award-winning one at that. Earlier, he'd been a scientist, but he realized he wasn't very happy sitting at a lab bench all day. Science writing, he realized, was the best job in the world -- it let him tell stories about space, the planet, climate change and the people working at the frontiers of human knowledge. He also owns a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters.
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The eclipse as seen from Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

Francois Nel/Getty

The first of two solar eclipses for 2020 turned the sun into a glowing "ring of fire" on Sunday. People situated along a narrow band of the world, across parts of Africa and Asia, were the lucky few who got to see the rare "annular" eclipse firsthand.

An annular solar eclipse happens when the moon is too far away from the Earth to completely hide the sun, leaving a ring of sunlight around the moon. That is how these types of eclipses get their poetic "ring of fire" nickname. 

The full annular eclipse was visible from parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia throughout Sunday. Northern India experienced a near-full eclipse, with 99.4% of the sun blocked during the peak. 

We've rounded up some of the best images filtering through the web below. We'll keep updating this piece with some of the best we find.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, nabbed some wonderful images from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a launching pad for NASA astronauts over the last nine years.

Indian journalist Pankaj Jain grabbed this epic snap.

Annularity happened around not long after midday, local time, in Sirsa, India. This capture, from Time and Date's YouTube stream, shows a ghostly, orange ring surrounding the shadowed moon. 


This is the ring of fire.

Time and Date YouTube

Cloudy skies across parts of India made for striking visions. 

Of course, it wasn't all clear skies...

This won't be the only eclipse of the year. A total solar eclipse is on tap for Dec. 14 for viewers in parts of South America. 

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