See the annular solar eclipse on 14 October 2023
A ring of fire eclipse will be visible in the US on 14 October 2023. Find out when it's happening and how to see it online.
Passing across 10 countries and running a decent path down through the US, the annular solar eclipse of 14 October 2023 – also called a ‘ring of fire’ eclipse – will be watched by millions of people.
For the US, the event will be something of a warm-up to a long total solar eclipse exactly 177 days later on 8 April 2024.
However, the sight of a bright ring around the Moon — something that can only be viewed safely using solar filters – will be something to savour for eclipse-chasers.
As well as lasting for up to 5 minutes 17 seconds, it’s way more accessible that the four remaining ‘ring of fire’ eclipses this decade in the Pacific, Patagonia, the Amazon and Siberia.
What is an annular solar eclipse?
An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent size in the sky is slightly too small to completely cover the Sun’s disk, leaving an annulus visible around the Moon’s silhouette for a few minutes.
An annular eclipse is commonly called a ‘ring of fire’. It occurs because the Moon has a slightly elliptical orbit of the Earth and is slightly too far away for its shadow cone to touch the Earth’s surface.
During this eclipse, the Moon will cover almost 91% of the Sun's disk.
Where is the annular eclipse happening, and at what time?
When does it begin in the US?
The 14 October eclipse – which will bring a big partial solar eclipse to all of North America and much of South America – has a narrow ‘path of annularity’ that starts south of Alaska (see diagram above).
This path of annularity marks locations from where the full annular eclipse will be visible.
The Moon's shadow will move across the US, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Brazil.
At its widest, the path of annularity will reach about 140 miles. The maximum duration of the ‘ring of fire’ will be just off the coast of Nicaragua in the Gulf of Mexico.
In the US the 14 October eclipse will begin in Oregon at 9:13 am PDT and move southwest, leaving Texas at 12:03 pm CDT.
Although the iconic Crater Lake National Park in Oregon (4 minutes 23 seconds from 9:17 am local time) will experience the full eclipse, there’s a higher chance of clear skies in the southwestern United States, where a ‘ring of fire’ will be visible from a bevy of national parks, national monuments and wilderness areas.
Iconic sites where a ‘ring of fire’ will be visible include:
- Mittens of Monument Valley, Arizona (4 min 19 sec from 10:29 am local time)
- Four Corners, AZ/CO/NM/UT (4 min 30 sec from 10:30 am local time)
- Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah (4 min 28 sec from 10:29 am local time)
US National Parks in the path of annularity include:
- Bryce Canyon, Utah (2 min 18 sec from 10:27 am local time)
- Canyonlands, Utah (2 min 21 sec from 10:29 am local time)
- Mesa Verde, Colorado (2 min 56 sec from 10:31 am local time)
The only major US cities that will see the full eclipse:
- Albuquerque, New Mexico (4 min 42 sec from 10:34 am local time)
- San Antonio, Texas (4 min 5 sec from 11:52 am local time)
How to observe the 14 October eclipse safely
You should never look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection (in the form of eclipse glasses and solar filters) and this entire event is far too dangerous to look at with the naked eye.
As well as an annular solar eclipse being preceded and followed by a partial solar eclipse, the main event itself is actually little more than a ‘pretty’ partial solar eclipse.
So everyone across North America and South America will need to wear eclipse glasses or use solar filters to safely view all parts of this event.
How to watch the eclipse online
Not going to be in the US, or just shy of the path of annularity? It will be possible to watch the 14 October 2023 eclipse online from anywhere worldwide.
Timeanddate.com have confirmed a livestream on YouTube (see below), though expect NASA TV and San Francisco science museum Exploratorium to also broadcast the event online.
When is the next annular eclipse?
The next annular solar eclipse after 2023 will be on 2 October 2024, when a ‘ring of fire’ will be visible for up to 7 minutes 25 seconds from Easter Island, the Laguna San Rafael National Park on southern Chile’s Pacific coast and just north of the Falkland Islands.
More like this
For more info, read our guide to the next eclipse.
Are you travelling to see the eclipse? Or are you based in the US and hosting an eclipse event? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.