Get ready now for ‘Ring of Fire’ eclipse coming this Saturday

Artwork courtesy of NASA

On Saturday, Oct. 14, an annular solar eclipse will be visible across North, Central and South America.

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun, creating a “ring of fire” around the darkened disk of the Moon. This happens when the Moon is at apogee, or its farthest distance from Earth, so it appears slightly smaller than the Sun, leaving a brilliant “halo” of light around its edges.

On this day, the Moon will block most of the Sun’s surface, so those who are lucky enough to be in the path of totality will witness a breathtaking sight that’s impossible to forget.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) says that “weather permitting, the annular eclipse will be visible in Oregon, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas, as well as some parts of California, Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona. The annular eclipse will continue on to Central America, passing over Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Panama. In South America, the eclipse will travel through Colombia before ending off the coast of Natal, Brazil, in the Atlantic Ocean.”

Houston-area residents will see a partial eclipse, so if you want to see it in its full glory, you will need to travel west to Kerrville, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Odessa, San Angelo or Midland. The eclipse will be in full effect in the Kerrville area by 11:54 p.m. and in the San Antonio area by noon.

No matter where you view it, it is crucial to take precautions to prevent damage to the eyes. Ophthalmologists at Baylor College of Medicine provide tips for how to safely look at the eclipse:

  • Directly staring at the sun (even for a few seconds) can cause permanent damage to your eyes. The intense rays can cause damage to the retina, which could lead to blurred vision or blind spots.
  • Protect yourself with special filters: shade No. 14 welder’s glass is a filter recommended by the American Society of Retina Specialists and is available at most welding supply stores.
  • Regular sunglasses – even the darkest ones – are not effective for the purposes of viewing the eclipse. They do not filter out enough visible and infrared light to effectively protect your retinas.
  • Most cameras, binoculars and telescopes are unfiltered, so if you are planning to capture images of the eclipse, you will still need to use a filter to protect yourself.

If you properly protect your eyes, you can safely enjoy this rare and exciting event.

Live coverage of the annular solar eclipse will air on NASA TV and the agency’s website on Oct. 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. The public also can watch live on agency social media accounts on FacebookX, and YouTube.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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