New Delhi: On October 14, 2023, a rare and stunning celestial event will take place in the skies of the Western Hemisphere. An annular solar eclipse, also known as a “ring of fire” eclipse, will occur when the moon passes in front of the sun but does not completely cover it. Instead, a thin ring of sunlight will remain visible around the dark silhouette of the moon, creating a breathtaking sight for millions of observers.
An annular solar eclipse happens when the moon is at its farthest point from Earth in its orbit, making it appear smaller than the sun. This prevents it from blocking the sun entirely, as it would during a total solar eclipse. The result is a bright ring or annulus that contrasts with the dark disk of the moon.
The annular solar eclipse of October 14, 2023, will be visible from parts of the United States, Mexico, and many countries in South and Central America. According to NASA, the eclipse will begin in Oregon at 9:13 a.m. PDT and end in Texas at 12:03 p.m. CDT. The path of annularity, where the ring of fire can be seen, will cross these states as well as California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. The duration of the annular phase will vary from less than one minute to more than four minutes, depending on the location.
Some of the best places to witness the Ring of Fire phenomenon are in the southwestern United States and at the Mayan temple in Edzna on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Different locations and cities will see the ring of fire at different times and for different durations. You can use this interactive map to find out the exact eclipse times and visualizations for any location.
Keep in mind that all the places will also experience a longer period of partial solar eclipse before and after the brief appearance of the ring of fire. A partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon covers only part of the sun’s disk. The degree of partiality will depend on how far away from the path of annularity you are. The farther you are, the less of the sun will be obscured by the moon.
Unfortunately, the Ring of Fire solar eclipse will not be visible from India. However, you can still watch it online through NASA’s official broadcast, which will start at 4:30 p.m. IST on October 14, 2023. You can also follow NASA’s social media accounts for live updates and images of the eclipse.
Remember that looking directly at the sun without proper eye protection can cause serious eye damage or blindness. Never use sunglasses, binoculars, telescopes, or cameras to view a solar eclipse. Only use special solar filters or eclipse glasses that are certified to meet international safety standards. You can also make a simple pinhole projector⁵ to project an image of the sun onto a screen or a wall.
Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to witness one of nature’s most spectacular shows. The next annular solar eclipse visible from North America will not happen until June 11, 2048.