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Annular solar eclipse: Coming in October to Oregon skies near you

Image of an annular solar eclipse.
Since the moon appears smaller than the sun during an annular eclipse, the sun peeks out from around the moon at total annularity.

In 2017, Oregon was one of the states in North America treated to excellent views of a total solar eclipse. Next month, a different celestial event will occur: an annular eclipse.

“This is a different flavor of eclipse,” said Scott Fisher, an astronomy lecturer at the University of Oregon.

Fisher has never seen an annular eclipse before—but he certainly can describe it.

“In this case, the moon is going to go in front of the sun, just like it did in 2017. But this time, the moon is a little farther away from the earth so it’s a little smaller in the sky. So, it will not cover the entire disc of the sun—there’s going to be a little ring of the sun still visible.”

A professor stands next to a big telescope.
Tiffany Eckert
University of Oregon astronomy lecturer Dr. Scott Fisher is director of the Pine Mountain Observatory where many celestial events are observed and studied. He's pictured here in his office in Klamath Hall on the UO campus in Eugene.

That “ring of fire” is called an annulus. Fisher said Eugene is nearly smack in the center of the “path of annularity,” which will sweep across southwestern Oregon. The two-and-a-half-hour eclipse event begins at 8:06 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14.

Fisher said because the sun is never completely blocked by the moon, it’s important to wear eclipse glasses during the entire eclipse event.

Eager viewers should check for early morning fog on the day of the eclipse. If it is foggy, Fisher said “head for the hills” to get a clear view of the eastern horizon.

Fisher noted at least once a year somewhere on earth, an annular eclipse occurs. To see the exact path of annularity of the October 2023 event, check out this interactive mapcreated by French eclipse expert Xavier Jubier.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.