An annular eclipse occurs when the moon blocks out the center of the sun, leaving a glowing ring called an annulus around the moon’s dark silhouette. It’s a lovely sight and well worth seeing, although it doesn’t compare to the wonder of a total eclipse.
We experience both total and annular eclipses because the distance between the earth and the moon varies. When the moon is close to the earth, it appears as large as the sun and we see a total solar eclipse. When it’s further away, it appears smaller than the sun and we see an annular eclipse. This year, because the moon was at its furthest distance from the earth on May 19, the “ring of fire” was especially wide.