2023 ‘Ring of Fire’ annular solar eclipse: When and how to watch Saturday’s celestial show in Southern California


LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Our skies will change on Saturday morning during a rare “Ring of Fire” annular solar eclipse.

The eclipse will briefly darken skies over the western United States and parts of Central and South America. When the Moon is aligned precisely between the Earth and the Sun, it obscures everything beyond the Sun’s outer edge. A bright, hot border will appear around the moon for five minutes, wowing skywatchers along the narrow path that stretches from Oregon to Brazil.

Eyewitness News spoke with NASA expert Anita Dey about the celestial event.

What is the “Ring of Fire”? What will Southern Californians see?

Day explained that the circular path will be from Texas to Oregon, so people along the path will see the sun partially covered by the moon. Therefore, there will be this “ring of fire” where the sun normally is. You’ll see that the sun’s bright light is somewhat obscured by the moon.

Day said Los Angeles isn’t quite there yet, but it’s close. So in Los Angeles, you’ll see a crescent-shaped sun instead of the crescent shape most people are used to.

time of solar eclipse

Starting around 8 a.m. Saturday, the Sun will begin to be obscured by the Moon in its orbit for three hours.

In California, we’ll start seeing it shortly after 9 AM. Views from our area would show the moon covering about 70% of the sun. This type of solar eclipse won’t occur in this part of the country until 2046!

How to watch an annular solar eclipse safely?

Dey stresses that you should never look directly into the sun. If you want to observe a solar eclipse, you will need some daylight viewing glasses or use indirect viewing methods.

Solar-powered viewing glasses are available at popular retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, and more. They can also be found at Griffith Observatory, and you can also check if your local library has them available for free.

An indirect method is to use a pinhole camera, which can be made naturally by using the shadow of a tree or using items found in your home.

Meteorologist Drew Tuma of sister station ABC7 News in San Francisco describes a simple way to make a pinhole camera at home.

“All you need is a cereal box, a piece of white paper, and some aluminum foil. So, again, once you’ve finished your viewing equipment, you’re going to want to turn your back to the sun and put your eyes in a hole , watching the sun go through another hole,” Tuma said.

Don’t have the glasses to watch the solar eclipse? no problem. Here’s a diagram from NASA for making a pinhole camera for viewing solar eclipses at home out of a cereal box.

If you don’t protect your eyes while viewing a solar eclipse, you could cause permanent vision damage. Dr. Hin Cheung, an optometrist at Indiana University College, said the damage may be painless, so you may not notice any type of sensation when the back of your eye is damaged when looking directly at the eclipse. Optometry.

Looking directly at a solar eclipse can cause solar retinopathy. This may cause you to lose some vision, have distorted vision, or develop blind spots.

Watch: How to protect your eyes during a solar eclipse

For more information about eye safety during a solar eclipse, visit nasa.gov.

There will be another solar eclipse in April 2024. How is it different from Saturday’s events?

Day said a total solar eclipse will occur in April and will travel from Texas to Maine. So whoever takes that path will face complete darkness. The sun will be completely obscured by the moon, and there will be a moment when the sun is completely dark and you can take off your glasses to observe. But she stresses that you have to put your glasses back on before the sun comes up.

With this eclipse, everyone in the contiguous 48 states will see something, although it may only be a small portion of the sun, like what Southern California might see, Day said.

Will Saturday’s solar eclipse affect Southland’s power grid?

The eclipse will block most of the sun’s rays Saturday morning and could reduce solar power generation in the state, according to Southern California Edison.

Southern California Edison released the following statement in part on Friday:

If solar production decreases, CAISO will use available resources to balance the grid, including battery storage, thermal power, hydropower and imports. SCE’s team of meteorologists and energy reserve experts will also be monitoring the situation to ensure customers receive reliable service.

You can find more information about SCE preparation at this link: energized.edison.com.

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