The unusual phenomenon happens when both the earth and the moon cross into the path of the sun
NASA ‘s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) caught the moment on film, as both shadows passed over the sun in the early morning of September 1, briefly blocking the satellite’s view.
The footage shows the earth passing across the face of the sun first, before the moon then obscures the sun.
AFP A man looks through binoculars an annular solar eclipse, on September 1, 2016, in Saint-Louis, on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion. Stargazers in south and central Africa were treated to a spectacular solar eclipse on September 1, 2016 when the Moon wanders into view to make the Sun appear as a “ring of fire”, astronomers say
Stargazers in south and central Africa also caught a view of the eclipse
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The two celestial bodies are distinguishable thanks to their distinctly different shadows – the earth’s is fuzzy, while the moon’s shadow is crisp and distinct.
The earth has a less distinct shadow due to the fact that it absorbs some light from the sun into its atmosphere.
The process of a partial solar eclipse in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, 01 Sep 2016
A partial solar eclipse was visible from Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa
The rare celestial event was not only visible from space – it could also be seen on the ground from some parts of southern and central Africa.
AFP Photo taken on September 1, 2016, in Saint-Louis, on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, shows the moon covering the sun, leaving a ring of fire effect around the moon, during an annular solar eclipse
The moon obscured the sun, leaving only a ‘ring of fire’
Stargazers looking to the skies caught a spectacular view of a ring of bright white light encircling a black moon, a phenomenon often known as a “ring of fire”.
Outside of the 62mile band where the full eclipse could be viewed from, only a partial eclipse was visible – or none at all.
The event, known as an annular solar eclipse , happens only when the earth, moon, and sun are in near-perfect alignment.