The sun will appear as a blazing ring of fire in the sky over America on Saturday, October 14, as an annular eclipse sweeps over the continent.
The eclipse will be visible from several states in the US, starting at 09:13 PDT (12:13 EDT, 1613 GMT) in Oregon before moving across Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and then Texas. The event will also be visible from parts of California, Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona before moving into the Gulf of Mexico.
After that, the eclipse will pass over Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Brazil. The 2023 annular eclipse will end with the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean.
Related: From which US states will the October “fiery eclipse” be seen?
NASA has released an interactive map of the annular eclipse that space enthusiasts can use to view the ring of fire, and Space summarized how observers are not in the path of the event watch the annular solar eclipse online. What can eclipse watchers expect to see and how will the annular eclipse progress from region to region?
Don’t be in the dark about this eclipse
There are three main types of eclipses. Whole solar eclipse happens when the moon completely covers the face sun. An annular solar eclipse occurs when Moon is further from Earth and covers only part of the solar disk. finally, a partial solar eclipse is when the Earth, Moon, and Sun are not perfectly aligned, so that the lunar disk covers only part of our star.
The October 14 event is an annular eclipse, which means the Moon is far from Earth and therefore the Sun will not be completely covered, leaving a glowing fiery golden ring around the dark lunar disk. This will happen gradually, with the annular eclipse marked by partial solar eclipse phases.
What are the phases of an annular solar eclipse?
During the first phase of the eclipse, the Moon begins to pass in front of the Sun and a partial solar eclipse begins. During this phase, the moon’s dark disc will make the sun appear to be taking a progressively larger bite out of its illuminated face.
It occurs approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes after first contact begins, marking the beginning of an annular eclipse or ring. The Moon has moved completely in front of the Sun and the light from the star is beginning to form a “ring of fire” around the Moon. One of the interesting phenomena that occurs during this phase are “Baily’s beads”, which are shaped like droplets of light in an arc around the edge of the Moon. Bailey’s beads are caused by the moon’s jagged edge, which is punctuated by mountains and valleys through which sunlight streams when the sun is obscured.
Phase 3: Maximum Eclipse
At this moment, the Moon completely covers the center of the Sun’s disc with a glowing ring of fire. The duration of the annularity depends on where in the eclipse path it is viewed from, but is usually between 4 and 5 minutes. For example, eclipse watchers in Oregon Dunes, Oregon will see the sun as a ring of fire for about 4 minutes and 29 seconds, while sky watchers in Corpus Christi, Texas will see it for about 4 minutes and 52 seconds.
The moon begins to move away from the sun’s disk, ending the ring and beginning the second period of partial eclipse. Skywatchers will once again get a chance to glimpse Baily’s Beads along the edge of the Moon.
Finally, the Moon moves away from the Sun’s disc, no longer partially covering it, ending the 2023 annular eclipse.
If you intend to display any of these stages, the most important thing to consider is how to display it safely. Looking at the sun without adequate protection at any time is harmful to the eyes, so eclipse watchers should take precautions on Saturday.
Sunglasses, no matter how dark, cannot protect the eyes from the effect of the sun, so specialized eclipse glasses made of safe solar filter materials. If observers intend to watch the event with binoculars, special filters will be needed to make viewing safe.
Our how to observe the sun safely guide tells you everything you need to know about observing the sun safely.
One simple way to view an annular eclipse is to watch it through an image of the sun projected onto a sheet of card. This can be done by poking a small hole in the card with a pencil and turning it towards the sun. The second card should be held about three or four feet behind the first in its shadow. This allows you to see the projected image of the sun on the other card.
After the 2023 annular eclipse, sky watchers in the US will get a chance to see total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024as it sweeps over North America and darkens the skies over Mexico, the US and Canada.