Home > Sun & Moon > Eclipses > May 20 – May 21, 2012 Annular Solar Eclipse

May 20 – May 21, 2012 Annular Solar Eclipse

The first solar eclipse in 2012 will be an annular solar eclipse on May 20–21. This is the first annular eclipse visible from the United States in 18 years. The eclipse will also be seen from eastern Asia and the northern Pacific. It starts in Asia and ends in the US.

Local times and visiblity in your location

All eclipses for years 1900 – 2100

Check local times for this eclipse all over the world

IMPORTANT: Protect your eyes while watching the eclipse!

What the eclipse would look like near the maximum point

The animation shows approximately what the eclipse looks like near the maximum point of the eclipse (weather permitting).

Is this eclipse viewable in New York?


This animation requires Flash to be installed. We hope to offer it without needing Flash soon.

Click the 'play' button to view the animation. The pause button can also be used to temporarily suspend the animation.

The animation shows where this annular solar eclipse is visible (white, gray and red shading) as well as day and night (dark “wave” slowly moving across the Earth's surface).

The colors within the shaded area show how much of the Sun's disk the Moon covers during the eclipse. The dark center of the red area shows the best locations to view this eclipse. Here, the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun without covering it entirely, leaving a bright “ring of fire” that is characteristic of an annular solar eclipse.

In the red area, the Sun is obscured 90 percent or more, in the dark gray area the Moon covers between 25 and 90 percent of the Sun's disk. The white shaded area symbolizes locations where less than 25 percent are covered.

The dark strip in the center indicates the best locations for viewing the eclipse. Here, the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun.

The eclipse is also visible in the areas that are shaded red, but less of the Sun's disk is obscured. The fainter the red shading the less of the Sun's disk is covered during the eclipse.

Where to see the eclipse

Continents seeing at least a partial eclipse:

Annular eclipse visible in:

Locations near the shadow's path:

Partial eclipse visible in:


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When the eclipse happens worldwide

The eclipse starts at one location and ends at another. The times below are actual times (in UTC) when the eclipse occurs.
EventUTC TimeTime in New York*
First location to see partial eclipse beginMay 20 at 8:56 PMMay 20 at 4:56 PM
First location to see full Eclipse beginMay 20 at 10:06 PMMay 20 at 6:06 PM
Maximum EclipseMay 20 at 11:54 PMMay 20 at 7:54 PM
Last location to see full Eclipse endMay 21 at 1:39 AMMay 20 at 9:39 PM
Last location to see partial Eclipse endMay 21 at 2:49 AMMay 20 at 10:49 PM

* Local times shown do not refer to when the eclipse can be observed from New York. Instead, they indicate the times when the eclipse begins, is at its max, and ends, somewhere else on earth. The corresponding local times are useful if you want to view the eclipse via a live webcam.
Eclipses viewable in New York.

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