Skywatchers from Pakistan and India to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Singapore and the rest of Asia were treated to a rare “Ring of Fire” solar eclipse Thursday.
Annular eclipses occur when the Moon is not close enough to the Earth to completely obscure the Sun, leaving a thin ring of the solar disc visible.
It was visible in Pakistan for the first time in 20 years, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department.
While these types of eclipses occur every year or two, they are only visible from a narrow band of Earth each time and it can be decades before the same pattern is repeated.
The eclipse started at 7:30am Pakistan Standard Time.
The solar eclipse is said to be a rare and historic event taking place after 20 years.
Researchers have called it an ideal celestial gift as this time the moon will cover 97% of the centre of the sun and for a few minutes a “ring of fire” will appear in the sky.
During the last eclipse Pakistan witnessed in 1999, most of the radiation did not reach Earth because of cloudy skies. But this time the skies will be crystal clear and the impact of radiation will be direct.
People have been advised not to look directly at the sun with naked eyes as it might lead to blindness or eye damage.
According to NASA, a total solar eclipse is safe to look at as it is as bright as the full moon. At all other times, however, you should only look at the sun using pinhole cameras or solar viewing glasses.
The solar eclipse will be visible in Karachi, Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore, Gilgit and Muzaffarabad. It will also be visible in other parts of Asia, eastern Europe, Australia, eastern Africa, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, according to the Met department.