Skywatchers: Shadow on the Sun, October’s Ring of Fire eclipse

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On October 14, 2023, skywatchers across the United States will be treated to a celestial spectacle. A partial solar eclipse is set to transform the daytime sky into a mesmerizing “ring of fire.”

 So, mark your calendars and prepare to witness a spectacular and rare celestial event.

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The Annular Eclipse:  Ring of Fire Effects

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, briefly blocking our view of the sun. However, not all solar eclipses are the same.

 The October 14 eclipse is an “annular solar eclipse” because the moon will be at a distant point in its orbit, appearing smaller in the sky. As a result, it won’t completely cover the sun, leaving a brilliant “ring of fire” surrounding its shadow. 

This effect is created by the sun’s chromosphere, a layer of its atmosphere where hydrogen atoms emit a reddish light. According to Madhulika Guhathakurta, an astrophysicist specializing in the sun at NASA, says, “That’s what makes it so beautiful.”