The Ring of Fire October 14, 2023 Solar Eclipse

Explore the wonders of solar eclipses with this detailed guide on how to view the Ring of Fire Annular on October 14th 2023. Whether an astronomy enthusiast or a curious observer, get equipped with prime viewing locations, essential knowledge, and safety tips for an unforgettable celestial experience.

Itatiaia National Park, Itatiaia, Brazil

Almost everyone has heard of a total solar eclipse — also known as a total eclipse of the sun — but it’s often mixed up with a Ring of Fire annular solar eclipse (“annular” means “ring”). Both types of solar eclipses are described by astronomers as central solar eclipses, but the exact geometrical differences between them are slight.

While slight geometrically, those differences have a huge effect on what observers see, feel and experience. While one of the eclipse types can be described merely as a beautiful sight the other is an awe-inspiring multisensory experience. 

The Ring of Fire Annular Solar Eclipse – October 14, 2023

On October 14, 2023, the moon will cover 91% of the sun’s surface, creating a path of annularity. This eclipse comes 11 years after a similar eclipse graced the skies of the U.S. Southwest on May 20, 2012. This forthcoming eclipse will traverse a comparable region, spanning eight U.S. states from Oregon to Texas, as confirmed by NASA.

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon, appearing slightly smaller in the sky, doesn’t entirely obscure the sun. This results in the sun’s periphery forming a radiant Ring of Fire.” The occurrence of such an eclipse is influenced by the moon’s distance from Earth. Given the moon’s elliptical orbit, it appears larger or smaller in our sky at different times.

The majority of North, Central, and a significant portion of South America will experience this solar eclipse. While most regions will observe a partial solar eclipse, only within a specific path, approximately 118 to 137 miles wide, will the full ‘ring of fire’ be visible.

This path will initiate in Oregon, traverse through several states, and continue across countries in Central and South America.

For the most intense experience, the point of maximum eclipse will be off the coasts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, where the ‘ring of fire’ will last for an impressive 5 minutes and 17 seconds.

Due to Navajo cultural beliefs, all Navajo Tribal Parks would remain closed from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. MDT on the day of the eclipse. This includes several renowned parks and heritage areas. Adventurers and enthusiasts should factor this into travel plans.

Solar eclipse col de la madeleine la léchère france

The Best Spots to View the Ring of Fire:

If you’re eager to experience the Ring of Fire Annual Solar Eclipse, these are noteworthy locations in incredibly scenic lotions to view the eclipse.

Location, time peak viewing begins, and duration of viewing:

  • Oregon Dunes, Oregon: 9:15 a.m. PDT; 4 minutes, 29 seconds 
  • Crater Lake National Park, Oregon: 9:17 a.m. PDT; 4 minutes, 19 seconds 
  • Lava Beds National Monument, California: 9:19 a.m. PDT; 54 seconds 
  • Great Basin National Park, Nevada: 9:24 a.m. PDT; 3 minutes, 46 seconds 
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah: 10:27 a.m. MDT; 2 minutes, 31 seconds 
  • Capitol Reef National Park, Utah: 10:27 a.m. MDT; 4 minutes, 37 seconds 
  • Canyonlands National Park, Utah: 10:29 a.m. MDT; 2 minutes, 24 seconds
  • Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah: 10:29 a.m. MDT; 4 minutes, 29 seconds  
  • Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado: 10:31 a.m. MDT; 2 minutes, 57 seconds 
  • Chaco Culture National Park, New Mexico: 10:32 a.m. MDT; 4 minutes, 42 seconds 
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: 10:34 a.m. MDT; 4 minutes, 42 seconds  
  • San Antonio: 11:52 a.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 5 seconds
  • Corpus Christi, Texas: 11:55 a.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 52 seconds
  • Padre Island National Seashore, Texas: 11:56 a.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 52 seconds
  • Edzná Maya archaeological site, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico: 11:23 a.m. CST; 4 minutes, 32 seconds

For those seeking the most picturesque settings to view the Ring of Fire, the U.S. Southwest and the Mayan temple at Edzná in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula are easily top contenders.

Several locations across various states will offer prime viewing opportunities, with the duration of the Ring of Fire varying based on proximity to the centerline of the eclipse’s path.

This table from NASA provides the time that the eclipse begins in a city in each state in the United States in the path of the annular eclipse. These areas will also experience a partial eclipse before and after these times.

LocationPartial Eclipse BeginsAnnularity BeginsMaximumAnnularity EndsPartial Eclipse Ends
Eugene, Oregon8:06 a.m. PDT9:16 a.m. PDT9:18 a.m. PDT9:20 a.m. PDT10:39 a.m. PDT
Alturas, California8:05 a.m. PDT9:19 a.m. PDT9:20 a.m. PDT9:21 a.m. PDT10:43 a.m. PDT
Battle Mountain, Nevada8:06 a.m. PDT9:21 a.m. PDT9:23 a.m. PDT9:25 a.m. PDT10:48 a.m. PDT
Richfield, Utah9:09 a.m. MDT10:26 a.m. MDT10:28 a.m. MDT10:31 a.m. MDT11:56 a.m. MDT
Albuquerque, New Mexico9:13 a.m. MDT10:34 a.m. MDT10:35 a.m. MDT10:39 a.m. MDT12:09 p.m. MDT
San Antonio, Texas10:23 a.m. CDT11:52 a.m. CDT11:54 a.m. CDT11:56 a.m. CDT1:33 p.m. CDT

Interactive map: http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/solar_eclipses/ASE_2023_GoogleMapFull.html

You’ll also want to factor in weather conditions. With cloudy skies, your viewing will be obscured, as I experienced viewing this solar eclipse back in 2017 in Ruidoso, New Mexico.

Themklibrary solar eclipse new mexico

View Solar Eclipses Safely

Regardless of where you’re viewing from, safety is paramount. Always use solar filters to protect your eyes. Even during the ‘ring of fire’, when over 90% of the sun is obscured, the remaining sunlight can be harmful.

When it comes to watching the Sun, especially during solar eclipses, there’s a specific standard called ISO 12312-2:2015. This standard is crucial because it sets the criteria for solar viewers, ensuring they protect your eyes from the Sun’s harmful rays.

The AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force strongly advises against using solar viewers that don’t meet the ISO 12312-2 standard. This is because non-compliant viewers might not provide adequate protection, risking eye injuries.

Safety options:

These paper and filter glasses are basic and easy if you just need a couple.

10 pack made in the USA

3 pack of colorful glasses with plastic frames

5 pack of plain black plastic glasses – some of the more durable options found.

Make sure the filters are not cracked or have pinholes when you go to use them. I purposefully keep a backup just in case.

These are the ONLY companies approved or endorsed by NASA. Do not buy from anywhere else to save a few dollars or you risk serious damage to your eyes.

  • Alpine Astronomical
  • American Paper Optics
  • American Paperwear
  • Astronomical League
  • Baader Planetarium
  • Bookishbunny
  • Celestial Optical
  • Celestron EclipSmart
  • DayStar Filters
  • Eclipse Texas
  • Explore Scientific
  • Flip’n Shades
  • Halo Eclipse Spectacles
  • Jaxy Optical Instruments
  • PNJ Solar
  • Rainbow Symphony
  • Seymour Solar
  • Solar Eclipse International (SEIC)
  • Soluna
  • Spectrum Telescope
  • Thousand Oaks Optical
  • Totality Over TX
  • TSE 17

Solar filters for the camera or telescope:

Celestron – 70mm telescopes

K&F ND1000 for cameras

Solar kit for phones, both iPhone and Android

Future Solar Eclipses

The 2023 annular solar eclipse serves as a precursor to the anticipated 2024 total solar eclipse, it remains a unique opportunity for those who haven’t witnessed an annular eclipse before. The subsequent annular solar eclipse after 2023 is slated for October 2, 2024, with prime viewing spots in the Pacific Ocean and parts of South America.

While total solar eclipses often steal the limelight, annular solar eclipses offer a distinct and mesmerizing spectacle. Whether you’re an avid eclipse chaser or a casual observer, the 2023 annular solar eclipse promises to be an event worth marking on your calendar.

Solar eclipse

Different Types of Eclipses

Total Solar Eclipse: A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely covers the sun, as viewed from Earth. During a total solar eclipse, the day becomes night for a short period. This phenomenon is one of nature’s most awe-inspiring spectacles, creating an immersive multi-sensory experience. Observers within the path of totality will witness the sun’s outer atmosphere, known as the corona, shimmering in the sky.

Annular Solar Eclipse (“Ring of Fire”): An annular solar eclipse happens when the moon covers the sun’s center, leaving the sun’s visible outer edges to form a “ring of fire” or annulus around the moon. The term “annular” is derived from the Latin word “annulus,” which means “ring.” This type of eclipse occurs when the moon is too far away from the Earth to completely cover the sun. As a result, the sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the dark disk of the moon.

Lunar Eclipse: A lunar eclipse takes place when the Earth passes between the sun and the moon, and the Earth’s shadow is cast onto the moon. This can result in a range of visual effects, from a slight darkening of the moon to a deep reddish hue, depending on the specific conditions of the eclipse.

Differences Between Annular and Total Solar Eclipses: While both the annular and total solar eclipses are categorized as central solar eclipses, their visual manifestations are distinct due to slight geometrical differences. In a total solar eclipse, the moon entirely obscures the sun, revealing the sun’s corona. In contrast, an annular eclipse showcases the sun as a bright ring surrounding the moon. The experience of witnessing a total solar eclipse is often described as profound and moving, while an annular eclipse is visually stunning but lacks the dramatic ambiance of totality.

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