Annular Eclipse

This annular solar eclipse was visible from Albuquerque, N.M., in May 2012. Tonight's will only be completely visible from eastern Antarctica. (Clyde Mueller, The New Mexican/Associated Press)

The year's first solar eclipse will appear as a spectacular ring of fire in the sky, but only when viewed from Eastern Antarctica.

The maximum annular solar eclipse takes place at 2:03 ET Tuesday morning. And while Antarctic penguins will get the best view, part of the eclipse will be visible to people living in Australia and southern Indonesia. There, the sun will become a blazing crescent in the sky.

The view from Australia will be streamed live online starting 2 a.m. ET by Slooh and the Virtual Telescope Project, two services that webcast images from ground-based telescopes, along with expert commentary from astrophysicists and astronomers.

An annular solar eclipse is a type of total solar eclipse that takes place when the moon is further from the Earth than usual. That makes it appear relatively smaller so that it doesn't cover the entire sun even at greatest eclipse. Tonight's eclipse is particularly rare because it's what's called a non-central eclipse, in which the central part of the moon's shadow misses the Earth entirely — in this case, if it missed by even a slightly bigger amount, there would be no total eclipse visible from Earth at all, and only a partial eclipse would be visible anywhere.

The next solar eclipse is a partial solar eclipse that will take place on Oct. 23 and will be visible across almost all of Canada except the Atlantic provinces.