Eclipse 2023USA 2023

The ultimate guide to the ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse in the American West

On Saturday, October 14, 2023 an annular solar eclipse will come to the U.S., the Caribbean and South America. 

Are you ready for a once-in-a-lifetime ‘ring of fire’ annular solar eclipse against the backdrop of America’s iconic southwest region? 

On Saturday, October 14, 2023 all observers will have to wear solar eclipse glasses at all times. That’s true for those that see a ‘ring of fire’ from within a 125 miles wide “path of annularity” or a partial solar eclipse from elsewhere in the U.S. 

An annular solar eclipse will see a slightly smaller-than-average New Moon (furthest from Earth on its egg-shaped orbit) blocking the middle part of the Sun.

Although on Saturday, October 14, 2023 New York will see a 23% partial solar eclipse, Chicago 42%, Denver 78%, Dallas 80% and San Francisco 76%, the place to be will be the American West and, more specifically, in one of its many iconic U.S. National Parks. Only from there will a ‘ring of fire’ be visible.

2023 annular solar eclipse

Credit: (used with permission)

The path stretches from Oregon through Texas via Nevada, Utah and New Mexico, bringing a maximum five-minute ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse that will see 90% of the Sun blocked by the Moon 9:13 a.m. PDT in Oregon through around 2 p.m. CDT as the shadow moves from north-west to southeast.

There are some excellent resources online for making plans to see this eclipse, from a map-based simulator that shows exactly what observers will see from where (also available on YouTube) to community resource pages complete with QR codes to share. “It’s for communities, schools and organizations, but it’s a one-stop shop for everyone,” said creator Dan McGlaun, a veteran eclipse chaser. “I wanted to go back to basics and help everyone answers questions about what it’s going to look like, when it’s going to happen and what it’s going to be like in my community.”

Since eclipses involve a New Moon the nights are dark in the week leading up to them, making them the ideal opportunity to plan a stargazing-themed road trip. That goes double for this eclipse because the path crosses many U.S. National Parks that are also designated as International Dark Sky Parks.

The best weather predictions are for the Colorado Plateau.

After exiting the U.S. the ‘ring of fire’ will then visit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia and Brazil. The Maya temple at Edzná on the Yucatán Peninsula will see a ‘ring of fire’ that will reign for 4 minutes 31 seconds.

Cities that will witness the ‘ring of fire’ include Eugene in Oregon, Albuquerque in New Mexico and San Antonio and Corpus Christi in Texas, but by a stroke of celestial luck there are many national parks inside the path:

  1. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (2 minutes 15 seconds)
  2. Canyonlands National Park, Utah (2 minutes 24 seconds
  3. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah (4 minutes 24 seconds)
  4. Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico (4 minutes 42 seconds)
  5. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon (4 minutes 19 seconds)
  6. Great Basin National Park, Nevada (2 minutes 34 seconds)
  7. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado (2 minutes 58 seconds)
  8. Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah (4 minutes 28 seconds)
2023 annular solar eclipse

Credit: (used with permission)

The last time that happened in the U.S. was on May 20, 2012 when the Moon appeared to pass before the Sun from a shallow path crossing the American West from west Texas to Oregon.

Image credit: Pixabay