Tens of millions of people in the United States will have a front-row seat this Saturday to the spectacular “ring of fire” solar eclipse, which will briefly darken the skies of the western United States, Central America and South America.
When the Moon is precisely aligned between the Earth and the Sun, hide all but the outer edge of the star. A bright, glowing halo was visible around the Moon for five minutes, dazzling observers in a narrow path from Oregon to Brazil.
The celestial spectacle will cause a partial eclipse in the rest of the Western Hemisphere.
This is the first total solar eclipse visible from Mexico, the eastern half of the United States and Canada for six months. Unlike on Saturday, when the Moon was too far from Earth to completely cover the Sun from our view, the Moon will be at full distance on April 8, 2024.
Here’s what you need to know about the annular solar eclipse, where you can see it and how to protect your eyes:
What is the path of the eclipse?
The eclipse will form a strip about 130 miles (210 kilometers) wide, starting in the northern Pacific and entering the United States through Oregon around 8 a.m. (Pacific time) on Saturday. It will end in the ring of fire after more than an hour. From Oregon, The eclipse will move toward Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas, covering swaths of Idaho, California, Arizona and Colorado, and then exiting the Gulf of Mexico at Corpus Christi. The burning halo takes less than an hour to cross the United States.
Where can it be found?
In the United States alone, more than 6.5 million people live along the so-called “annularity trajectory,” and another 68 million within a 200-mile (322-kilometer) radius, according to NASA scientist Alex Lockwood. “So drive a few hours in a car and you will be among the more than 70 million witnesses of this amazing celestial alignment,” he said.
How to protect your eyes during the eclipse?
Make sure you use safe, certified solar eclipse glasses, Lockwood said. Sunglasses are not enough to prevent eye damage. Adequate protection is required throughout the eclipse, from the initial phase to the ring of fire and the final phase.