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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

What is an Annular Eclipse of the Sun?

What is an Annular Eclipse of the Sun?

To explain what an annular eclipse of the sun is, we should first explain what the term eclipse means.

According to our Farmers’ Almanac Astronomer, Joe Rao, an eclipse is “a total or partial obscuring of one celestial body by another.” When you put the word “lunar” in front eclipse it means that the moon passes into the earth’s shadow. Because the Moon shines only by reflected sunlight, the moon will gradually darken as it enters the shadow.

A solar eclipse or eclipse of the sun, occurs when the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun, blocking your view of the sun.

An annular eclipse happens when the moon is too small to cover the entire area of sun’s disk. It is a solar eclipse but not a total eclipse. As a result, the rim of the sun’s disc remains visible around the dark disc of the Moon, which makes for an annular or ring round the shadow effect.

On February 6th there will be an annular solar eclipse, however, this eclipse will only be visible in areas that lie in the open waters of the South Pacific.

However, there will be a Total Eclipse of the Moon starting on February 20th that will be visible in North and South America. For more information on this eclipse, see page 98 of the 2008 Farmers’ Almanac.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.