Context: Out of the two solar eclipses that will be observed this year, one took place recently (June 21) and was visible in India. It was also visible in parts of Asia, Africa, the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, parts of Europe and Australia.

More on the news:

  • This solar eclipse was a rare annular eclipse that occurs once every one or two years, and coincides with the northern hemisphere’s longest day of the year, called the summer solstice.
  • The point of “maximum eclipse”, characterized by a perfect solar halo around the moon, was witnessed over Uttarakhand and that exact formation lasted for about 38 seconds.

About Summer Solstice

  • Solstice means “sun stands still” in Latin.

  • Receiving more energy
    • June 20 or the day of the summer solstice is characterized by a greater amount of energy received by the earth from the Sun. 
    • The amount of incoming energy the Earth received from the Sun on this day is 30 percent higher at the North Pole than at the Equator.
  • On the day of the summer solstice, the northern hemisphere receives the longest stretch of daylight in a given year.



  • Tilted axis of the Earth
    • During the solstice, the Earth’s axis around which the planet spins, is tilted in a way that the North Pole is tipped towards the Sun and the South Pole is away from it.
    • Typically, this imaginary axis passes right through the middle of the Earth from top to bottom and is always tilted at 23.5 degrees with respect to the Sun
  • Therefore, the summer solstice is that instant in time when the North Pole points more directly toward the Sun than at any other time during the year. 


About annual Solar Eclipse

  • A solar eclipse is witnessed when the moon is aligned between the Sun and Earth, blocking the light received by the Earth from the Sun.


Source: Time and date

  • An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon is the farthest from the Earth.
  • Here because of the distance, it looks smaller and does not block the entire view of the Sun creating a “ring of fire” effect.

Image Source: IE