“Ring Of Fire” Solar Eclipse 2023

Almost all of North America (except for western Alaska) will experience a strange and dramatic sky event on Saturday, October 14, as a partial solar eclipse will take place. Depending on where you are located (and if your sky is reasonably clear) the Sun will appear to be dented, crescent shaped, or even ring-shaped—as pictured above! Learn all about the upcoming solar eclipse, how the partial solar eclipse 2023 will differ from the total eclipse expected in 2024, and which cities will have the best views.


What Makes This Partial Eclipse Special?

October’s partial solar eclipse is special because it will become an “annular” solar eclipse for some viewers in the United States. That means that the Sun will appear to be a giant “ring of fire” or halo of reddish-golden light. The last time an event like this occurred in the United States was in 2012.

Learn more about facts and folklore about eclipses

Why will some see a ring of fire? It has to do with the Moon being far away from the Earth. The Moon will be about four days past apogee (the Moon’s farthest point from the Earth in its orbit) so it will appear to be slightly smaller than usual. For this reason it will leave a ring of light around the Sun as it crosses in front of it.

The ring will shine with only one-tenth of the Sun’s normal total light, but this is less of a change than it sounds, since the eye adapts readily to changing light levels. The illumination will be no darker than on a bright overcast day. The quality of the light, however, may become unearthly. Clear skies turn deep blue and landscapes become oddly silvery. 

Venus, shining at magnitude -4.6, may become briefly visible 46 degrees above and to the right of the Sun. (Your clenched fist held at arm’s length measures roughly 10 degrees, so Venus will be positioned about four and a half “fists” to the Sun’s upper right.) Block the Sun with your hand to search for it. 


Across parts of nine western states—Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas—viewers living within a path about 135 miles wide, will have a front-row seat to witness the rare and exciting spectacle of an annular or ring eclipse. The path of annularity extends from the Pacific coastline of Oregon southeast to the Gulf Coast of southern Texas. Places within the path include Eugene, Oregon, Winnemucca, Nevada, Albuquerque, New Mexico and in Texas, San Antonio and Corpus Christi.

The annular phase will last about four to five minutes if you are on the centerline. Nearer the edge of the path the duration will be shorter and the ring will look lopsided, with one side shining brighter than the other. 

In the table below, we provide details for 10 selected cities that are inside of the annular eclipse path. The local daylight time as to when the annular phase begins is provided, along with the duration of the ring phase listed in minutes and seconds. 

Eugene, OR9:16 a.m. PDT3 min. 58 sec.
Winnemucca, NV9:20 a.m. PDT4 min. 25 sec.
Elko, NV9:22 a.m. PDT4 min. 19 sec.
Richfield, UT10:26 a.m. MDT4 min. 40 sec.
Cortez, CO10:31 a.m. MDT3 min. 20 sec.
Albuquerque, NM10:34 a.m. MDT4 min. 48 sec.
Roswell, NM10:38 a.m. MDT4 min. 37 sec.
Midland, TX11:43 a.m. CDT4 min. 55 sec.
San Antonio, TX11:52 a.m. CDT4 min. 29 sec.
Corpus Christi, TX11:55 a.m. CDT5 min. 01 sec.

But even if you’re not positioned within the track of the ring phase, you shouldn’t be too envious as this partial eclipse may be witnessed almost everywhere from the Pacific coast eastward. For the Western states this will be a mid-to-late morning event. In the Central US it will coincide with the midday hours, while in the East it occurs in the early afternoon. 

“Ring of fire” solar eclipse 2023 locations. (See details in the chart above.)

The table below provides the local daylight (or for Arizona, standard time) of maximum eclipse for 18 selected cities, as well as the percentage amount of the total disk area of the Sun that will be covered by the Moon at maximum.

Portland, OR9:19 a.m. PDT87 percent
San Francisco, CA9:19 a.m. PDT76 percent
Seattle, WA9:20 a.m. PDT80 percent
Los Angeles, CA9:24 a.m. PDT70 percent
Las Vegas, NV9:26 a.m. PDT81 percent
Phoenix, AZ9:31 a.m. MST78 percent
Salt Lake City, UT10:28 a.m. MDT87 percent
Denver, CO10:36 a.m. MDT79 percent
Dallas, TX11:53 a.m. CDT81 percent
St. Louis, MO11:57 a.m. CDT54 percent
Chicago, IL11:58 a.m. CDT43 percent
Houston, TX11:59 a.m. CDT85 percent
Atlanta, GA1:12 p.m. EDT52 percent
Washington, D.C.1:19 p.m. EDT30 percent
New York, N.Y.1:23 p.m. EDT23 percent
Lewiston, ME1:25 p.m. EDT14 percent
Boston, MA1:26 p.m. EDT17 percent
Miami, FL1:34 p.m. EDT58 percent

Important note: The blazing ring of sunlight is blindingly bright to the eye and should not be looked at with bare eyes. The rule for watching a partial eclipse also applies here: if you want to look directly at the Sun utilize a safe solar filter such as #13 welders’ glass or the Farmers’ Almanac Solar Eclipse Glasses (see below) which block the dangerous light, including ultraviolet and infrared radiations that emanate from the Sun.

Related: 10 Strange Facts About The “Ring Of Fire” Solar Eclipse

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How To Watch Without Solar Eclipse Glasses

Did you know that you can watch the eclipse by projecting or reflecting the Sun’s image onto a white sheet of paper (or cardboard)? This may not seem as exciting, but it is the safest way. Here are three alternative methods

1) Project The Sun On Paper

-Use a sharp pencil to poke a small hole in a piece of aluminum foil or an index card. (A large hole makes the image bright, but fuzzy. A smaller hole makes it dim but sharp.)

-Then hold a second card two or three feet behind it.

-You may also enclose this setup in a box to keep out as much daylight as possible. 

This projected image will undergo all the phases of the eclipse.

Alternatively, you may project the Sun’s image using a telescope or binoculars. These projections will larger, sharper, and brighter. They may also show sunspot groups that may be present. 

Note: Be sure no one looks at the Sun through the instruments!

2) Make A Pinhole Mirror

-Punch a quarter inch hole in a piece of paper and use it to cover a small mirror (or compact).

-Reflect a spot of sunlight onto a nearby wall. The image will be one inch across for every 9 feet from the mirror. 

Note: Don’t let anyone look at the Sun in the mirror!

3) Natural Projections

A leafy tree may naturally create many little pinhole projectors. Watch the spots of light that dapple the ground in the shadow of a tree. You may see swarms of crescent shapes or rings instead of the usual round Sun disks.

A Final Thought

Without question, the big celestial event in 2024 will be the Great North American Total Eclipse that will occur on Monday, April 8. But consider the annular eclipse of Saturday, October 14 as the “opening act,” or a “dress rehearsal” for April 8. Although lacking many phenomena peculiar to a total eclipse, a partial or “ring” eclipse gives excellent opportunity to try out instruments and procedures. 

Join The Discussion

Do you live in one of the cities listed above?

Are you excited to see the October solar eclipse 2023?

Share your comments or questions with your community here below!

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Joe Rao is an expert astronomer.
Joe Rao

Joe Rao is an esteemed astronomer who writes for Space.com, Sky & Telescope, and Natural History Magazine. Mr. Rao is a regular contributor to the Farmers' Almanacand serves as an associate lecturer for the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

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David Fiske

Thank you. I live in Kingston Canada so will miss it


You will still be able to see some obscuration of the sun from where you are located – about 30%!

Belinda Macks

We live in Oklahoma about 40 miles from the Texas border. Hoping to see this. God created everything so perfectly & precisely, not to mention with so many complexities!

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