(FOX40.COM) — An annular solar eclipse, commonly known as a “ring of fire,” is expected to cross and be visible in parts of the United States on Saturday, Oct. 14.
Officials from NASA said the path of the eclipse will cross North, Central and South America and will be visible across much of the Western United States.
Here are five things you need to know about the annular solar eclipse.
What is an annular solar eclipse?
According to NASA, an annular solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, but the moon doesn’t completely block the sun’s rays.
Due to the moon being farther away from Earth, it appears smaller than the sun and therefore doesn’t completely block it. This results in the moon appearing as a dark disk on top of a larger bright disk. The sunlight that is still visible around the moon creates what looks like a “ring of fire.”
Who in the United States can view the solar eclipse?
According to NASA, the eclipse is set to occur on Oct. 14 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. with the max coverage happening at 9:20 a.m.
The path of solar eclipse will be from the northwest to southeast portions of the U.S., starting over Eugene, Oregon and departing the U.S. over Corpus Christi, Texas.
States where the the solar eclipse will be visible are Oregon, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas, along with parts of California, Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona.
Some of the best places to view the eclipse in these states include Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kerrville, Texas, Eugene, Oregon and Elko, Nevada, along with the Four Corners area, where the states of Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico meet.
NASA officials said the eclipse will continue on to Central America, passing over Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Panama. The eclipse will also travel to South America, passing through Colombia before ending off the coast of Natal, Brazil, in the Atlantic Ocean.
Where in California will the annular solar eclipse be visible?
A corner of northeastern California in Modoc County will be in the path of the annular solar eclipse. Viewers in Northern California, including Sacramento, will see an 80% partial coverage of the solar eclipse.
The remaining parts of Northern California and portions of the Central Valley will be between the 75% and 80% partial coverage area.
When is the eclipse happening in Northern California?
According to NASA, people in Northern California will start to see the sunlight dim around 8:44 a.m., as the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. When the max eclipse occurs at 9:20 a.m., much of the sun will be covered by the moon, appearing as a crescent-shaped sun.
Before 10 a.m., the moon will move out of the path between the Earth and the sun and much of the sun will be revealed again around 10:43 a.m.
How to see the annular solar eclipse safely
For those who want to view the eclipse, NASA officials highly recommend wearing specialized eye protection to avoid a severe eye injury.
When watching a partial or annular solar eclipse, NASA said to look through safe solar viewing glasses or a safe handheld solar viewer at all times. Regular sunglasses are not recommended, no matter how dark they are, as they’re not safe for viewing the sun.
NASA recommends safe solar viewing glasses or “eclipse glasses,” which are thousands of times darker and comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard.
It is not recommended to look at the sun through a camera lens, telescope, binocular, or any other optical device while wearing eclipse glasses or using a handheld solar viewer. Officials said the solar rays will burn through the filter and cause serious eye injury.