There is a lot about our solar system that is truly awe-inspiring. While the sheer size of our galaxy, the mysterious surfaces of distant planets, and the physics of a black hole can keep us fixed in amazement and wonder, some of the most spectacular sights in our solar system can be seen with the naked eye – from right here on Earth. Of course we are talking about eclipses!
An eclipse is essentially the result of a beautiful cosmic coincidence. That’s because the Sun just so happens to be the same apparent size in the sky as the Moon (the Sun, of course, is actually much larger than the Moon, but it is much further away from the Earth, hence its relatively small appearance).
An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon covers the center of the Sun, concealing all but the edges of the Sun from the perspective of the observer on Earth. The result is a characteristic “ring of fire,” and it’s truly a sight to behold. Many eclipse-chasers claim the annular eclipse as their favorite because of this feature.
Let’s dig into the different types of eclipses, discuss when the next annular eclipse will be in the US, and outline how to view it safely.
The Three Types of Solar Eclipses
There are actually three different types of solar eclipses.
The rarest type of eclipse is a total solar eclipse. During a total eclipse, the Moon crosses in front of the Sun, covering the center of the Sun completely. Only the Sun’s outer atmosphere, known as the corona, is visible during the maximum magnitude of a total eclipse for those within the path of totality.
The second type of eclipse is a partial solar eclipse. During a partial eclipse, the Moon passes in front of the Sun, but at an angle. This results in more of a crescent shaped Sun peeking out from behind the Moon.
The third type of eclipse is an annular solar eclipse. During an annular eclipse, the Moon crosses in front of the Sun, but the lunar disk does not completely cover the Sun’s center. The result is the light from the Sun breaking past the edges of the Moon and creating the telltale “ring of fire.” As with other types of eclipses, you must be observing the event from somewhere along the path of totality – which varies from eclipse to eclipse.
When Is the Next Solar Eclipse in the US?
An eclipse is a rare event, and the time between two eclipses can span years – even decades! So you’ll be relieved to know that there are two that will be visible in the United States before the year 2025.
The next annular solar eclipse visible in the United States will occur on October 14th, 2023. There will also be an annular eclipse visible in North America on June 10, 2021, though the path of totality will only cross through parts of Canada, not the United States.
The next total solar eclipse that will be visible in the United States will occur on April 8th, 2024.
For a complete list of all eclipses occurring through 2026, click here.
How to View an Annular Eclipse
As with any eclipse, you must follow safety protocol when attempting to view an annular solar eclipse. First things first… never stare directly into the Sun! Doing so may can permanent damage to your eyes.
To view an annular eclipse, including the “ring of fire,” you’ll need to wear protective eyewear that is ISO certified. At Rainbow Symphony, we offer a wide range of eclipse shades, eclipse glasses, and eclipse viewers, all of which are CE and ISO certified to meet the necessary level of protection for your eyes during an eclipse.
How to Prepare for the Next Annular Eclipse
An annular solar eclipse will not be visible just anywhere; you’ll need to be somewhere within the path of totality. If you’re making plans to view the annular solar eclipse in October of 2023, you’ll want to start scouting locations out West.
The path of totality for the 2023 eclipse will cross through parts of Oregon, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico – including both Albuquerque and Santa Fe – and Texas, as well as just a bit on the Northeastern tip of California.
It’s never too early to start planning. After all, by planning a trip to watch the annular eclipse and catch a glimpse of the ‘ring of fire’, you’re joining a thriving community of passionate eclipse-chasers, some of whom are certainly already thinking about where they’re going to set up shop in 2023!
Ahead of the eclipse, you’ll want to keep an eye on the weather and have a backup location prepared. If the forecast indicates that the weather may be poor, including overcast with clouds, consider relocating – otherwise, you won’t be able to see the big event!
Last, but certainly not least, you need to be prepared with your eclipse viewing equipment, including your protective eyewear and any specialized solar filters you may need for your camera or binoculars.
Start Preparing Today
Rainbow Symphony was founded by a passionate eclipse-chaser who wanted to share his love of the magic of the universe with everyone. That’s why we only sell quality, ISO certified eclipse eyewear to ensure you’re heading to your annular eclipse-watching event with confidence.