A “ring of fire” will appear over parts of the United States when the moon passes between the sun and Earth during the annular solar eclipse of 2023.
The cosmic event will happen on Oct. 14, starting at 12:13 PM ET in Oregon and ending three hours later in Texas.
Only eight states will be in the path of the eclipse: Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Texas.
The annular eclipse also extends to Mexico, Central America and South America.
This will be the first time in 11 years that an annular eclipse of the sun has been seen in North America, and it was previously seen in parts of the same eight states.
While other eclipses see the moon temporarily block the sun’s light completely, in an annular eclipse the moon is very far from Earth.
This means that it is perfectly positioned to allow a ring of light to penetrate or “fire” – to a stunning effect.
Then there is a total eclipse, which occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth but completely obscures the face of the sun, and the United States will witness this in 2024.
This year’s annular solar eclipse will span a 125-mile path from Oregon to Brazil.
As the event occurs, light levels are expected to be experienced as the moon will cover 90 percent of the sun, according to Space.com.
Michael Zeller, cartographer and eclipse chaser at GreatAmericanEclipse.com, told Space.com that people with eclipse glasses will clearly see a “fantastic ring of sunlight” during the eclipse.
“I would recommend the US national parks in the Four Corners where Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Ariana meet because it is a sunny time of year after the monsoon season and before the winter storms,” Zeller said.
And while all eight states are in the path, only part of the region will see the full annular eclipse.
In southern Oregon, the best spots will be along the coast, and only residents of northeastern California will witness the eclipse.
The path hits southern Utah, southwestern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, northwest to southeastern New Mexico, and the same parts of Texas.
And Dr. Emily Drabek Maunder, an astronomer at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, warned that looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially eclipsed, can cause severe and permanent eye damage.
“Never look directly at the sun or use standard sunglasses, as this can cause serious damage to your eyes,” added Dr. Drabek Maunder.
It’s also unsafe to look at the sun through binoculars, telescopes, or a camera lens without specialized filters – so it’s best to avoid taking direct photos.
Using a simple pinhole projector, solar eclipse viewing glasses, which can be purchased online, or special solar filters are viable alternatives.
“You can make a projector by punching a small hole in a piece of card,” said Dr. Drabek Monder, adding that you hold the card in front of the sun so that it shines through the hole on a piece of paper placed behind the card.
“You will be able to see the shape of the sun projected onto the piece of paper and watch its shape change as the moon passes in front of the sun.”