- The "ring of fire" eclipse is named for the way the sun's light shines from behind the moon
- The next annular eclipse will be visible in North America in August 2017
(CNN)A rare and glorious "ring of fire" solar eclipse emblazoned the skies over Africa Thursday morning, prompting skywatchers to share their views on social media.
The annular eclipse occurs when the circumference of the sun shines brightly from behind the moon.
Residents in Gabon, Congo, Tanzania and the northern part of Madagascar were treated to a direct view of the spectacle as the moon passed between the Earth and sun.
NASA posted a Google map detailing locations where the eclipse could be seen.
The event caused a blanket of darkness to descend over Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
One user there shared a photo of the eclipse, asking, "What does this eclipse tell us?"
In Rwanda, one person marveled at the beauty of the eclipse and shared a picture of a darkening sky as the moon started to cross in front of the sun.
"It was amazing," another user told CNN, sharing their photo of the sun beaming out of a blackened sky in Rwanda.
"Solar eclipse over Kisoro," tweeted one user, who spotted the phenomenon in Uganda.
North America will be next in line to see the annular eclipse. In August 2017, it will pass over the United States from the Northwest to the Southeast of the country.