A day after the summer solstice, a new Moon passed in front of the Sun to create an annular eclipse across large swaths of Asia and Africa. An astronaut aboard the International Space Station shot this photograph of the Moon’s shadow passing over China during the eclipse on June 21, 2020.
An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun but is too far away from Earth to completely obscure the solar disk. From the ground, viewers can see a thin ring of sunlight around the Moon’s edge—hence why the event is affectionately called a “ring of fire” eclipse.
Astronaut photograph ISS063-E-31769 was acquired on June 21, 2020, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using an 50 millimeter lens and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 63 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Text by Kasha Patel.