Tens of millions of Americans will have front-row seats to the unusual “ring of fire” solar eclipse.
The so-called annular solar eclipse will briefly darken the sky over the western United States and Central and South America.
When the Moon is precisely aligned between the Earth and the Sun, it blots out all but the outer edge of the Sun. A bright, glowing rim can be seen around the Moon for five minutes, stunning sky watchers along 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:
Where can the eclipse be seen?
In the United States alone, more than 6.5 million people live along the so-called annularity path, and another 68 million within a 200-mile (322-kilometer) radius, according to NASA planetary scientist Alex Lockwood. . “So a few hours in the car and you can have more than 70 million witnesses to this amazing celestial alignment,” he said.
What is the path of the annular solar eclipse?
The eclipse will form a strip about 210 kilometers (130 miles) 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 travel through Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas, covering swaths of Idaho, California, Arizona and Colorado, before exiting the Gulf of Mexico in Corpus Christi. The burning halo takes less than an hour to cross the United States.
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 partial phase to the ring of fire and the final partial phase.
What is an annular solar eclipse?
An annular eclipse is when the Moon does not completely cover the Sun, leaving a “ring of fire” around the Moon. During an annular eclipse, the Sun, Moon, and Earth are perfectly aligned, but the moon is at its furthest from Earth. (The Moon has an elliptical orbit, changing its distance from Earth by 30,000 miles.)
The greater distance prevents the Moon from completely blocking our view of the Sun. Instead, a ring of light is still visible around the Moon. This is why annular eclipses are often called “ring of fire” eclipses. Annular eclipses are fascinating, but they don’t provide the spectacular spectacle that total solar eclipses do: sunlight dims, but the sky doesn’t darken; the Sun’s outer atmosphere (solar corona) is invisible; and you must wear eclipse glasses throughout the event.
When can the event be enjoyed?
On Saturday, October 14, 2023, the annular solar eclipse will pass over North, Central and South America. It can be found in parts of the United States, Mexico and many countries in South and Central America.
In the United States, the annular solar eclipse will begin in Oregon at 9:13 am Pacific Time and end in Texas at 12:03 pm Central Time.