Credit By: KSL Newsradio
Residents and tourists in the Americas are in for a celestial treat, with two spectacular solar events gracing the skies in the coming months. The first in this line-up is the “Ring of Fire” solar eclipse scheduled for this Saturday, followed by a total solar eclipse set to occur next April.
A “Ring of Fire” solar eclipse happens when the Moon positions itself between the Earth and the Sun, partially obscuring our view of the Sun. This phenomenon is officially known as an annular solar eclipse and has been elaborated upon by NASA, the United States’ space agency.
The Science Behind the Name
The term “Ring of Fire” aptly describes the visual spectacle of the event. When the moon is situated in front of the Sun, it appears smaller due to its distance from Earth. Consequently, it doesn’t entirely cover the Sun, leaving a dazzling ring, or “annulus,” visible. The appearance of this fiery ring differentiates the event from a total solar eclipse, where the Moon fully obscures the Sun.
When and Where to Watch
United States Path
The forthcoming “Ring of Fire” is set to delight sky-watchers along a path stretching from Oregon to Texas. According to official timings, the celestial event will commence at 9:13 a.m. PT on the Oregon coast and conclude at 12:03 p.m. CT in Texas.
Largest Affected Cities
San Antonio, often referred to as the Alamo City is the largest U.S. city that will find itself directly under the eclipse’s path. The city, along with other communities along the route, is bracing for an influx of eager visitors looking to witness the spectacle.
Beyond the Mainland
For those residing in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska, a partial eclipse will be visible. However, the iconic “Ring of Fire” effect will not be seen in these regions, as stated by NASA officials.
Future Celestial Events
Next year promises another awe-inspiring opportunity for astronomical enthusiasts. On April 8, a total solar eclipse will occur, dazzling viewers across a “path of totality” that is 115 miles (185 km) wide. This path will traverse 13 U.S. states, stretching from northern Mexico all the way to eastern Canada.
NASA strongly recommends wearing specialized solar filters to safeguard your eyes when observing any solar eclipse.
“It is never safe to look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection,” warned NASA.
Only once the moon completely blocks the Sun’s visible surface is it safe to remove the special filtered glasses.
Impact and Scientific Opportunities
Both these celestial phenomena are not just visual treats; they provide a valuable opportunity for scientific research. Solar eclipses can momentarily affect wildlife behavior and atmospheric temperatures as conditions resemble dusk. Researchers will be keen to study the Sun’s interaction with Earth during these events.
Whether you’re a seasoned stargazer or a casual observer, the upcoming “Ring of Fire” and total solar eclipse offer an unparalleled opportunity to witness the grandeur of our universe. Just remember to follow safety guidelines and enjoy the cosmic display.
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