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What is an Annular Solar Eclipse?

What is an Annular Solar Eclipse?

Despite its name, an annular solar eclipse technically isn’t an eclipse of the Sun; it’s an occultation of the Sun by the Moon. An occultation refers to the complete or partial obscuration of the light of an astronomical body, most commonly a star, by another astronomical body, such as a planet or a satellite.

What we know as an annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, but when it is at or near its farthest point from Earth. Because the Moon is farther away from Earth, it appears smaller than the Sun and does not completely cover the Sun. As a result, the Moon appears as a dark disk on top of a larger, bright disk, creating what looks like a ring around the Moon. The next annular eclipse in the U.S. will be on Oct. 14, 2023.


How to View the 2023 Annular Solar Eclipse

The Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, annular solar eclipse will cross North, Central, and South America. It will be visible in parts of the United States, Mexico, and many countries in South and Central America.

In the U.S., the annular solar eclipse begins in Oregon at 9:13 a.m. PDT and ends in Texas at 12:03 p.m. CDT.

To see if you live along the path of totality and when the best time to view it will be, check out the ‘When and Where’ map on NASA’s website, linked below. During an total solar eclipse, it is never safe to look directly at the Sun without specialized eye protection designed for solar viewing. Review these safety guidelines on the NASA website to prepare for October 14, 2023.

Family at 2017 Total Solar Eclipse in Madras

A family safely views the partially eclipsed Sun during Lowell’s 2017 total eclipse event in Madras. Oregon. Credit Sarah Gilbert/Lowell Observatory.

The 2023 Southwest Annular Solar Eclipse Party

Celebrate with us at Lowell!
Lowell Observatory is teaming up with Sunspot Solar Observatory to celebrate the annular solar eclipse in style! This event will feature:

🔆 Special Science Talks
🔆 Single Speed Coffee
🔆 Solar Viewing Glasses
🔆 Scavenger Hunt
🔆 Livestream featuring views of the eclipse from Sunspot Solar Observatory and Lowell Observatory

And more! Stay tuned for more details.

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