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A total solar eclipse and a ring of fire

A total Solar Eclipse and a ‘ring of fire’ make the eclipse season of 2023 unique!

In North America, a ‘ring of fire’ will occur after a ‘hybrid’ eclipse, which is an extremely rare astronomical event. If you have ever seen a total solar eclipse, you probably will be looking for the next one. If this is the case, you might not the only one.

This is because recent total solar eclipses have been extremely challenging to reach. This means that only a small number of eclipse-chasers could see them. This will shift this year, and in 2023 there will be two exceptional solar eclipses. The first total solar eclipse is very uncommon. However, millions of people in North America will be able to see the second one without much trouble. If you are a solar eclipse enthusiast, the year 2023 will be an eventful and memorable one.

2019’s solar eclipse:

The last time a total solar eclipse could be seen by anyone who wanted to make the journey into the path of totality was on July 2, 2019. The eclipse was visible in the late afternoon sky from northern Chile and Argentina.

Regions of Visibility:

This was the last time anyone was able to witness a total solar eclipse or Ring of Fire. The path of totality traveled across the Pacific Ocean for the vast majority of its duration, touching land for only a short time before sunset.

Many people were interested in the eclipse. But they decided to postpone their plans until the next one. This is Because the weather forecast for the event was extremely unfavorable. As it turned out, the skies across South America were almost completely clear during the total solar eclipse that occurred in 2019, allowing spectators to witness a dramatic totality that occurred low in the sky.

The total eclipse that occurred in 2019 was the last opportunity for eclipse-chasers to view the solar corona and Baily’s beads for a few years. These two spectacular phenomena are what set total solar eclipses apart from other types of eclipses and are especially disappointing for those who did not attend the eclipse.

The last two total eclipses were primarily witnessed by domestic eclipse-chasers due to the fear of COVID and the associated stringent travel restrictions.

When the totality occurred in southern Chile and Argentina on December 14, 2020, many people had to cancel their trips to see it. Only a few thousand people, mostly on cruise ships in Antarctica and some on a special eclipse flight, saw totality on December 4, 2021, exactly one lunar year later and so did a few thousand Emperor penguins.

2022’s partial solar eclipses:

So what about 2022? There were only a couple of partial solar eclipses, one of which was in Chile and Argentina saw on April 30, 2022, and the other was visible in Europe on October 25, 2022. This was unfortunate because there were no solar eclipses for anyone to travel to.

Ring of Fire
Image credit: Pixabay

The two eclipses in 2023:

Fortunately, 2023 brings totality and a rare “ring of fire” annular solar eclipse in North America. On April 20, 2023, there will be a total solar eclipse, but there will be a catch. This will be the first hybrid solar eclipse since 2013 and the last one until 2031, thanks to a rare cosmic alignment of the Earth, moon, and sun.

On October 14, 2023, an annular solar eclipse will occur as a new moon that is slightly smaller than average will move across the sun, leaving an Annular solar eclipse in its wake. While the unusual effect will only last for a maximum of five minutes and seventeen seconds, the visibility of this eclipse is noteworthy, as it will be visible in seven states across the southwestern United States. What makes the two solar eclipses of 2023 so exceptional is given below.

Solar Eclipses 2023
Image credit: Zeiler

Total solar eclipse of 2023:

There will be a solar eclipse failure by a New Moon on April 20, 2023. The moon will temporarily fail to produce a total solar eclipse because it is just a little bit too far from Earth on its elliptical orbit to completely block out the sun.

Regions where it will appear:

A ring of fire will appear over the Indian OceanperioderWhen. When the Moonshadow finally reaches the Western Australian town of Exmouth, however, the brief total solar eclipse will be in full effect as the moon’s desk completely blocks the sun.

Around one minute of darkness will be observed by the estimated 20,000 eclipse chasers in Exmouth, as well as those on cruise ships in the Indian Ocean. Only 76 seconds of totality will occur even at the point of the greatest eclipse, which is located just off the coast of Timor-Leste.

However, the unusual astronomical more than makeup for the short duration of this total solar eclipse. Observers are expected to have a long view of the pink chromosphere of the sun around the moon during totality, and a long display of Baily’s beads around the New Moon.

ring of fire img 3
Image credit: Pixabay

Annular solar eclipse of 2023:

On October 14, 2023, Solar eclipse chasers will be to view the annular “ring of fire” in America. It will be visible from North, Central, and South America It will also stop in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, but before it does so it will travel through eight different states in the United States.

Regions where it will be visible:

A ‘ring of fire’ that begins in Oregon and lasts for up to 4 minutes and 40 seconds will be visible in the following locations: Northern California, northeast Nevada, central Utah, northeast Arizona, southwest Colorado, central New Mexico, and southern Texas.

In its path, it will pass over more than 20 national parks, national monuments, and state parks, providing those in North America who want to witness the eclipse with the perfect excuse to travel throughout the southwest of the country.

annular solar eclipse
(Image credit: Zeiler)

The drawback of 2023’s solar eclipse:

There is only one big downside of this annular solar eclipse. One can’t see it directly with the naked eye at any time during the event. One needs to put on Solar filters on both human eyes and optical/camera equipment during the new moon. This is because the moon will only cover 91% of the sun’s disc during this phase of the lunar cycle. The United States witnessed its most recent annular solar eclipse. On May 20, 2012, once again in the southwestern region of the country.

2024’s Annular eclipse:

However, there is one best thing about the annular eclipse. The annular solar eclipse that will take place in North America in October is the best possible event to serve as a warm-up for the total solar eclipse that will take place in North America in 2024.

Areas where it will be visible:

On Monday, April 8, 2024, people will be able to see the moon’s shadow rip. These regions include some parts of Mexico, the United States, and Canada. It will create a totality that could last as long as 4 minutes and 28 seconds. This would be the first totality since the ‘Great American Eclipse’ of 2017. Moreover, it will be the longest event on land since 2009. This will be the last total solar eclipse visible from North America until 2044. (Alaska will be hosting in 2033), so preparations should be made now.

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