Annular Solar Eclipse Spans Across the Americas from Oregon to Brazil

by Madison Thomas
annular solar eclipse

An uncommon annular solar eclipse, colloquially known as a “ring of fire,” made its way across the Americas this past Saturday, originating in Oregon and concluding in Brazil. Anticipating this celestial event, large crowds gathered in urban and rural locales as well as national parks, waking up before daybreak to secure optimal viewing spots.

For the communities situated along its limited trajectory, sentiments ranged from eager anticipation to concerns about weather conditions and the potential for an influx of tourists seeking to witness this astronomical phenomenon. Adverse weather like clouds and fog posed a risk to visibility in some western states, including Oregon and California.

Contrasting with a total solar eclipse, an annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon does not fully obscure the sun, resulting in a radiant, ring-like border when the moon is positioned between the Earth and the sun.

The eclipse’s path covered multiple states in the U.S., including Oregon, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas, as well as segments of California, Arizona, and Colorado. Following this, it moved through parts of Mexico and Central America before culminating in Colombia and Brazil. The broader Western Hemisphere experienced a partial solar eclipse.

Enthusiasts of astronomical phenomena journeyed to remote areas across the United States to gain the most advantageous viewpoint. Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, for example, was adorned with small lights along its renowned trail, which meanders through a formation of red rock hoodoos, as spectators arrived early to claim their viewing locations.

John Edwards, a pharmaceutical developer specializing in cancer drugs, traversed the nation solo to witness the eclipse from Bryce Canyon. Edwards remarked on the rarity of the occasion, stating that such unique events serve as a unifying experience for humanity.

Visibility was contingent on clear atmospheric conditions, and portions of the U.S. were subject to cloud cover. Various organizations, including NASA, had arrangements to broadcast the event via livestream.

The small coastal town of Reedsport in Oregon moved its eclipse-themed festivities indoors due to predicted rainfall, with community representatives still hopeful for an opportunity to view the eclipse. On the contrary, Baker, Nevada, a town with a population around 100, remained undeterred by weather concerns and planned several activities, led by inn and general store owner Liz Woolsey, an avid eclipse enthusiast since 2017.

Viewers on the Eastern Seaboard were set to see a truncated version of the eclipse but were still eager to observe the phenomenon. In Maine, the Versant Power Astronomy Center had the Clark Telescope open for public viewing and sold protective eyewear to promote safe observation of the eclipse.

The event also coincided with Albuquerque, New Mexico’s annual hot air balloon fiesta, offering spectators a dual visual spectacle. In Colombia, visually impaired individuals were aided by astronomers using tactile maps and temperature changes as indicators for the eclipse’s progression.

Educational activities were also present at the Cancun Planetarium, where younger visitors constructed box projectors for indirect and safe observation of the eclipse. Authorities in various regions, including Oregon’s Klamath County and Brazil’s Pedra da Boca State Park, took precautions against expected large gatherings.

The complete duration of the annular solar eclipse ranged from two and a half to three hours at any given location, with the “ring of fire” phase lasting between three to five minutes. Future solar eclipses are already on the astronomical calendar, with a total solar eclipse set for next April and another annular solar eclipse slated for next October in South America.

Contributions for this report were made by correspondents located in Portland, Maine, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Garfield County, Utah, Bogota, Colombia, Cancun, Mexico, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about annular solar eclipse

What type of solar eclipse was covered in the article?

The article focused on an annular solar eclipse, commonly referred to as a “ring of fire” eclipse.

Which regions did the eclipse pass through?

The annular solar eclipse traversed a path starting from Oregon in the United States and ending in Brazil. It also passed through states like Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas in the U.S., as well as countries such as Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia.

What is the main difference between a total solar eclipse and an annular solar eclipse?

In a total solar eclipse, the moon completely covers the sun. In contrast, an annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon does not fully obscure the sun, leaving a radiant, ring-like border visible.

Were there concerns about weather conditions affecting visibility?

Yes, weather conditions like clouds and fog posed potential risks to visibility, particularly in some western U.S. states such as Oregon and California.

How did the public prepare for this celestial event?

Public preparation ranged from securing optimal viewing spots in rural and urban areas to partaking in community-organized events and festivals. Protective eyewear was sold at various locations to encourage safe viewing.

Were there any unique events tied to the eclipse?

The eclipse coincided with Albuquerque, New Mexico’s annual hot air balloon fiesta, and in Colombia, visually impaired individuals were aided by astronomers using tactile maps and temperature changes.

How long did the eclipse last at any given location?

The complete duration of the annular solar eclipse was approximately two and a half to three hours at any given location, with the “ring of fire” phase lasting between three to five minutes.

Are there any future solar eclipses of note?

Yes, a total solar eclipse is slated to occur next April, starting from Mexico and passing through parts of the United States. Another annular solar eclipse is expected next October at the southernmost tip of South America.

More about annular solar eclipse

  • Understanding Solar Eclipses
  • Types of Solar Eclipses: Total, Partial, and Annular
  • Safe Viewing Tips for Solar Eclipses
  • Upcoming Solar Eclipses: Dates and Locations
  • Weather and Astronomical Events: How Conditions Affect Visibility
  • Solar Eclipses in Cultural and Historical Contexts
  • NASA’s Live Streaming of Astronomical Events
  • Solar Eclipses and Public Events: A Community Perspective
  • Solar Eclipses and their Impact on Wildlife and Environment
  • Accessibility and Inclusive Viewing of Astronomical Phenomena

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TravelBug October 14, 2023 - 11:44 pm

I wish I was in one of those small towns for the festival vibes. Sounds like it was more than just an eclipse but a real community event.

TechieTom October 15, 2023 - 3:13 am

Missed out on the live stream, thanks for painting a vivid picture of the whole thing. Now I almost feel like I was there.

AnnaSkyGazer October 15, 2023 - 7:30 am

this was like the Super Bowl for us astronomy nerds. Glad the article captured the excitement and the community spirit around the event.

SolarWatcher October 15, 2023 - 9:14 am

Great job covering the weather aspect. It’s always such a bummer when clouds ruin a once in a lifetime view like this.

EcoTim October 15, 2023 - 10:33 am

So cool to hear about the efforts in Colombia to help visually impaired people experience the eclipse. More of this please!

JohnDoe October 15, 2023 - 12:03 pm

Wow, what an informative article! Can’t believe the next ring of fire isn’t until 2039 in the U.S. Better mark my calendar.


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