An annular eclipse is similar to total eclipse except our Moon "apparently" appears smaller than the Sun, my question is since in both cases there will be a glowing ring forming... so how to tell them apart?

  • $\begingroup$ In an annular eclipse, the ring goes all the way around the moon; in a total, the "ring" is one-sided. $\endgroup$ – barrycarter Aug 23 '17 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ @barrycarter: I believe by “ring” in the case of totality, the OP is referring to the corona. $\endgroup$ – chirlu Aug 23 '17 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ @barrycarter Incorrect. The corona during totality is also a complete ring. Source: I've seen it with my own eyes two days ago. $\endgroup$ – Florin Andrei Aug 23 '17 at 23:38

There is a massive difference in the brightness of the "ring". During a total eclipse, the photosphere of the sun is completely hidden and the corona comes into sight. The corona is much much less bright than the photosphere of the sun, so during a total eclipse, the sky becomes dark.

During an annular eclipse the photosphere is never completely obscured. The bright 'surface' of the sun is still visible, so the sky never becomes completely dark, the sun remains dangerously bright, and the corona is not visible. An annular eclipse is like the partial phase of a total eclipse, because part of the sun is still visible.

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  • $\begingroup$ Agreed. A few things to add: 1) During a total eclipse, the day turns into night. It gets very dark, almost like during a night with a full moon. This is a huge difference from a partial eclipse, which is still basically daylight, only a tiny bit more dim. 2) The sky during totality is not actually completely black, it's more like a very deep blue, with the horizon remaining fairly bright all around. But even so it's very different from a partial eclipse, when the sky is still bright and day-like. Anyway, yes, the overall difference between total and partial eclipses is MASSIVE - night vs day. $\endgroup$ – Florin Andrei Aug 23 '17 at 23:46

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