Posted: Friday, September 22, 2023. 10:30 am CST.
(Image credit: Eclipse image: Rick Fienberg/Sky & Telescope, animation of timer added by Daisy Dobrijevic in Canva. )
By Horace Palacio: The ‘ring of fire’ annular solar eclipse set for October 14 is quickly gaining status as one of the most eagerly awaited astronomical events of the year. Not only will the celestial phenomenon cross eight U.S. states, from Oregon to Texas, but it will also pass over the Gulf of Mexico and multiple countries including Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Brazil. According to Space.com, millions of people will have the opportunity to witness this spectacular event.
For those fortunate enough to be situated along the path of annularity, the entire eclipse will last, on average, about two and a half hours. This duration includes around 1.5 hours of partial solar eclipse, followed by a brief but magnificent four to five minutes of the annular ‘ring of fire,’ and concludes with another 1.5 hours of partial eclipse.
The duration of the ‘ring of fire’ phase will vary depending on one’s exact location. The closer an observer is to the centerline of the path of annularity, the longer they will be able to witness the celestial event. In the United States, the durations can range from 1 minute and 24 seconds in Corvallis, Oregon to 4 minutes and 52 seconds in Corpus Christi, Texas, according to data from The Great American Eclipse.
The longest viewing opportunity for the ‘ring of fire’ will be off the coast of Nicaragua in the Gulf of Mexico, where the annular phase will last about 5 minutes and 17 seconds.
Here are some notable local times and durations for the ‘ring of fire’ across different locations:
Regardless of whether you will experience a partial or annular solar eclipse, it’s essential to take safety precautions. Observers should never look directly at the Sun. Solar eclipse glasses are a must, and any cameras, telescopes, or binoculars in use should have solar filters placed in front of their lenses at all times.
If you’re planning to watch this natural marvel, a multitude of guides are available to assist with your planning. For those unable to witness the eclipse in person, various livestreams will provide expert commentary and splendid views of the event.
This October 14 event promises to be a celestial spectacle you won’t want to miss. Mark your calendars, prepare your solar filters, and get ready to witness one of nature’s most awe-inspiring shows.
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