A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon gets in the way of the sun and blocks its light, but an annular eclipse occurs when the moon does not completely block the sun, leaving a ring of sunlight around the moon.
Thursday's event was visible in the Republic of Congo, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania,
The actual “ring of fire” lasted just three minutes in some areas, and nearby countries were able to see a partial eclipse.
Here are a few images of the "ring of fire":
The next solar eclipse will also be an annular eclipse and will occur on Feb. 26, 2017. That "ring of fire" eclipse will be over eastern South America.
And on Aug. 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible in the United States from coast to coast, according to NASA. It will be the first total eclipse visible only in the USA since the country was founded in 1776.
It will also be the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the entire country in 99 years, NASA says. And not since 1970 has there been an opportunity to see a total solar eclipse in such easily accessible and widespread areas of the nation.
Contributing: Doyle Rice.
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