outdoor activities ·
Published October 11, 2023
A Rare 'Ring of Fire' Solar Eclipse Will Cross the Skies This Saturday
The phenomenon will be visible to millions of people in the Western Hemisphere. 🌘
by Bucket Listers
This Saturday, October 14, 2023, an annular solar eclipse will grace the skies in North, Central, and South America. This rare event will create a mesmerizing "ring of fire" effect for those located along the path of annularity and a partial eclipse for anyone viewing in the US.
An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon appears slightly smaller than the sun, preventing it from completely blocking the sun's disk. As a result, a brilliant ring of sunlight surrounds the moon, creating the famous "ring of fire." Unlike a total eclipse—like the one that occurred in 2017—this annular eclipse won't darken the sky. Instead, it will be a partial eclipse, with the moon covering about 91% of the sun's disk.
In the U.S., the annular solar eclipse begins in Oregon at 9:13 am PDT and ends in Texas at 12:03 pm CDT. The best viewing places for people in the United States are primarily in the west and southwest regions of the country.
The specific ‘ring of fire’ path is only about 118 to 137 miles and will traverse through Oregon, northern California, northeast Nevada, central Utah, northeast Arizona, southwest Colorado, central New Mexico, and southern Texas. NASA has created a chart (below) with optimal viewing times based on your location, as well as an interactive map to learn more about the phenomenon and its trajectory.
Map and chart via NASA
Beyond the US borders, the eclipse's path extends over the Gulf of Mexico and travels through Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Brazil. The point of greatest eclipse, where viewers can witness the ring of fire for an impressive 5 minutes and 17 seconds, will be just off the coast of Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
If you’re not in the direct line of annularity, you can still witness the partial solar eclipse. NASA will also be live broadcasting the event from its telescopes, so you can see it no matter your location. While an annular solar eclipse happens about every one to two years, seeing full annularity in the US is quite rare. The last annular eclipse visible in North America was in 2012, and it won't happen again until 2046.
If you plan on viewing, make sure to wear proper eye protection—even during an eclipse, you shouldn’t be staring straight into the sun. Here’s hoping for clear skies this Saturday!
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