The annular eclipse
An annular eclipse occurs when the moon does not appear to entirely cover the sun Cameron McCarty, Matthew Barto

On the first day of September, people across the African continent will be able to witness a stunning "ring of fire" solar eclipse. Also known as an "annular eclipse", the phenomenon occurs when the edge of the sun remains visible as a bright ring around the moon, during an eclipse.

On such occasions, the Moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, just like during a total solar eclipse. But because the Moon is farther away from our planet, it appears smaller to our eyes. It seems therefore not to hide the totality of the sun's surface — leaving out a "ring of fire" on the outer edge.

If you are not based in Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa or Madagascar, you will not be able to see this impressive celestial event first-hand. However, you have a chance to witness it through Slooh's community telescopes live online.

Slooh, an international telescope service, has indeed decided to host a live broadcast to follow the path of the annular solar eclipse.

Viewing will begin at 07:45 UK time on Thursday 1 September and will start from the observatory at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands before moving across the continent to South Africa, Tanzania, Madagascar, and finally Réunion Island — travelling more than 9600km across the continent.

You can watch the broadcast live online below or on Slooh's website where you will be able to snap and share your own photos during the event, chat with audience members, interact with the hosts, and personally control Slooh's telescopes.


The show will not be limited to following the shadow of the sun. Different guests will be invited to explore the science of eclipse as well as the myths and emotional expression surrounding them. Many writers and artists have used eclipses to bring symbolism to their work while some of the topics discussed during the broadcast will be how eclipses have been represented in two of the great monotheist religions, Islam and Christianity.

Understanding the psychological impact of eclipses will also be a highlight of the show, with explanations about why the phenomenon causes grown men to well up in tears and armies to lay down their weapons. A good preparation for next year's total solar eclipse over the continental USA — the first in three decades.