The month of October is offering a chance to skygazers to witness a solar eclipse, when Sun will be obscured by the shadow of the moon. It will be an annular solar eclipse and occur on October 30, 2023. This type of eclipse is often referred to as a ‘ring of fire’ due to the ring-like appearance of the Sun. This happens because during the annular solar eclipse, the moon appears slightly smaller than the Sun, so it can’t block the entire disk, resulting in a glowing ring on the periphery.
What will happen during the ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse?
Due to the partial blocking of the Sun, the skies won’t be darkened the way it happens during a total solar eclipse. Whether the moon can completely cover the Sun (when viewed from Earth) depends on its distance from Earth.
The moon revolves around the Earth in an elliptical orbit, so at two points each month, it is farthest (apogee) and closest (perigee) to Earth, making the moon appear slightly smaller and slightly larger than average in our sky.
According to space.com, on October 14, the new moon will cover only the 91 per cent of the Sun’s disk.
Time of the annular solar eclipse
According to Indian Standard Time (IST), the eclipse will begin around 9pm and the glowing disk will be visible 01:06 am and 02:23 am. The peak eclipse will occur at 1:45 am IST.
The ‘ring of fire’ will be visible only within the path of annularity, which is 190 to 220 kilometres wide. The point of greatest eclipse – where viewers could see a ring of fire lasting 5 minutes, 17 seconds – will occur off the coast of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, said space.com.
Will the solar eclipse be visible in India?
The event will not be visible in India. The eclipse will be seen in the parts of North America, including the western United States, and extend into the Pacific Ocean.
The ‘ring of fire’ will be visible from Oregon through northern California, northeast Nevada, central Utah, northeast Arizona, southwest Colorado, central New Mexico and southern Texas. It will then move across the Gulf of Mexico and over Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Brazil.
How to watch the eclipse?
It is never safe to look directly at the Sun. But those who want to witness it, should use certified eclipse glasses, or make a cardboard pinhole projector.
American space agency NASA will have a live feed of the eclipse.