Get Ready for a Ring of Fire
On October 14, part of the world will experience an annular solar eclipse.
© Matthew Starling—iStock/Getty Images Plus
During an annular solar eclipse, the only part of the Sun that’s visible is a “ring of fire.”
On October 14, 2023, parts of the Western Hemisphere will experience an annular solar eclipse. The sky won’t go dark. Instead, the Sun and the Moon will align to form a “ring of fire.”
An annular eclipse is different from a total solar eclipse. During a total eclipse, the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, blocking the Sun and causing the sky to go dark for a brief time. An annular eclipse happens when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun but is at or near its farthest point from Earth. (Remember, the Moon’s orbit is elliptical, or oval shaped.) Since the Moon is a bit smaller in the sky, it doesn’t block the Sun completely, and a thin ring of light is visible—what some people call a ring of fire.
Annular eclipses are visible only in a zone called the path of annularity. The October 14 event will be visible in parts of Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. It can also be seen in parts of Mexico, Central America, and South America.
A partial solar eclipse will be visible in other places. Because less of the Sun will be blocked, people in those locations won’t see the ring of fire.
In the United States, the annular eclipse will first be visible in part of Oregon at 9:13 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time and last be visible in part of Texas at 12:03 p.m. Central Daylight Time. The eclipse will then move over Mexico and Central America and, finally, South America.
If you have the opportunity to view the annular or partial eclipse, be safe. Don’t look at the Sun unless you’re wearing eclipse glasses or solar viewers. Regular sunglasses are not safe for viewing an eclipse.