Annular Solar Eclipse
Incredibly, our Moon is of the right size and at the right distance, that when it comes exactly between us and the Sun, it totally or partially blocks our nearest star. Notice in the diagram above (not to scale) how the Moon casts cone-shaped zones of shadow.
At 15:04 UT (Universal Time) the Moon’s shadow will be cast upon the Earth, its center traveling across the USA, through Central America, and continuing across Columbia, Brazil and out over the Atlantic before slipping back into space. Follow this link to see an animation and note the progression of the inner, central shadow (antumbra): October 14, 2023 Annular Eclipse (1.)
For this eclipse, the Moon’s apparent diameter will be slightly less than the Sun’s so that at maximum eclipse and from the central path of the shadow, you would see a thin ring of light. This is known as an annular eclipse. If you are outside this central path, you will see a partial eclipse.
For instance, for those of us in Boston MA, the maximum partial eclipse will appear as seen below, from a Time & Date (2.) website screenshot.
|Or follow this link to make your own pinhole camera 🙂|
Word of caution: Never directly view the Sun. Binoculars, telescopes, cameras or any viewing device must be securely fitted with an ISO 12312-2 certified, professionally crafted solar filter. Even if only a sliver of the Sun is visible, it is still as bright as any other portion, and it will permanently damage your eyes. For this reason, no phase of an annular eclipse may be viewed without eye protection. Does this mean you should hide inside during the eclipse? Not at all! Just follow these safe viewing guidelines from the American Astronomical Society: Viewing a Solar Eclipse Eyewear and Viewers
ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse glasses are a great way to watch the eclipse. Order now to get them in time.
Do a search for your local astronomy club or museum because they may be hosting safe public viewing.
Advance planning is important:
• have a safe and permissible place from which to watch
• Ideally scout a location before October 14 for a clear view looking south to southwest
• in the days leading up to October 14, pay attention to the weather
• have a plan to relocate, if it looks like it will be cloudy
• arrive early, before the beginning of the partial phase, to get settled
Unless you are an experienced astrophotographer or have practiced photographing the Sun, you are better off just enjoying the eclipse. If you are so inclined, practice now, before the day of the eclipse. B&H Photo has an excellent article on photographing a solar eclipse. Fussing with a camera during an eclipse is no fun 🙁
If clouds roll in just before or even during this eclipse, do not despair. Veteran eclipse watchers will tell you to keep watching. The clouds just might part. And pay attention to changes in the local climate. These changes will be more pronounced, the closer you are to the central path of the Moon’s shadow.
A solar eclipse is a spectacular celestial event that photos and videos cannot completely capture. It is one of those things that you just have to witness yourself.
1. Courtesy: Global Map Animation of Eclipse courtesy of Michael Zeiler (GreatAmericanEclipse.com) and Fred Espenak (EclipseWise.com)
2. Time & Date website