An annular solar eclipse will sweep across North, Central and South America on 14 October 2023. Millions of people in the western hemisphere will be able to see the eclipse.
Because the moon appears slightly smaller than the sun during an annular eclipse, it cannot block the entire disk. The end product is a stunning ‘ring of fire’.
The path of the eclipse
The Ring of Fire eclipse will be visible across North America, Central America and much of South America on 14 October. The spectacle will be a partial solar eclipse with varying degrees of obscuration across the region.
Tracking the ring of fire
The Ring of Fire eclipse will only be visible within the path of totality, which is 118 to 137 miles (190 to 220 kilometres) wide. This path will run from Oregon through northern California, northeastern Nevada, central Utah, northeastern Arizona, southwestern Colorado, central New Mexico and southern Texas. It will then move across Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Brazil before crossing the Gulf of Mexico.
The point of maximum eclipse will be off the coasts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, where people will be able to see a ring of fire lasting 5 minutes and 17 seconds.
5 places to see the Ring of Fire
The unusual sight of a circle of light will be visible during the day only from within a 125-mile-wide line that spans eight US states – Oregon, northern California, Nevada, Utah, northeastern Arizona, southwestern Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. It will then be visible from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, as well as Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia and Brazil.
From 11 to 16 October, the Ring of Fire Eclipse Festival will take place in Ely, Nevada, featuring everything from bar crawls to lectures on Nevada’s UFO history.
The Rio Rancho Astronomical Society will be hosting an event at the Rainbow Park Observatory in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, with telescopes equipped with solar filters for safe viewing of the eclipse. The observatory will be open to the public from 8:30am MDT and eclipse glasses will be for sale.
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, located in southern Oregon between Florence and Coos Bay, features vast and bizarre terrain, including one of the largest coastal sand dunes in the world. If you want to get as close to the centre line as possible to see the perfect ‘ring of fire’ as low as it goes to the horizon, head to the Oregon Dunes Day Use Area.
The decrease in brightness becomes apparent when about 50% of the sun is covered during a solar eclipse. You may notice an increase in activity among the hundreds of species of migratory birds that inhabit the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Northern California around 8:30am.
Head to Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park for the hot air balloon event (7-15 October 2023). Take a balloon ride on the penultimate day of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and see the “Ring of Fire” for 4 minutes and 43 seconds. Every year since 1972, up to 600 hot air balloons have taken to the skies during the festival.