On Saturday, Oct. 14, the moon will partially block the sun, creating an annular solar eclipse and turning our star into a cosmic “ring of fire.”
The “ring of fire” phenomenon will be visible to those located on the 125-mile (200-kilometer) wide path of annularity that stretches from Oregon to Texas and beyond, spanning 10 countries in total. Those situated close to the path but just outside will instead experience a partial solar eclipse where the moon will appear to take a “bite” out of the sun.
Scientists will be using the Oct. 14 annular solar eclipse as a “warm-up” for the upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. A solar eclipse offers atmospheric and heliospheric scientists a unique opportunity to study the sun’s outer atmosphere — the corona — during the minutes that the sun is almost completely blocked by the moon.
Our annular eclipse 2023 guide tells you everything you need to know about the upcoming eclipse. If you want to follow along with all the eclipse action online, we have summarized some of the best free livestreams available in our how to watch the annular solar eclipse guide, NASA has also released a useful interactive map for those wanting to explore and track the eclipse down to the last second.
The two upcoming solar eclipses have scientists particularly excited as they are happening during a very active period in the current solar cycle — solar cycle 25 — as solar activity ramps up to the predicted “solar maximum” in 2024. The solar cycle describes an approximate 11-year cycle of solar activity driven by the sun’s magnetic field.