A ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse on Saturday will briefly dim the skies over parts of the western U.S. and Central and South America.
The annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the sun and the Earth, casting its shadow toward the planet.
The partial eclipse will begin in Southern California at 8:08 a.m., reach a maximum at 9:25 a.m., and end at 10:51 a.m., according to the University of California, Irvine Department of Physics and Astronomy.
“It’s essential for people to use proper protective eyewear to view the eclipse,” UC Irvine astronomer Aaron Barth, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, stressed in a news release.
If you aren’t sure if your eyewear is safe to view the solar eclipse, you can check out NASA’s eye safety information page.
This will be the first of two solar eclipses that will be visible in the U.S. within 177 days. The second will be a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, that will be visible over Mexico, the eastern U.S. and eastern Canada.
“Here in Los Angeles, it’ll cover 71 percent of the sun’s area. So, the sun will be 71 percent dimmer and you’ll notice that around 9:24 am,” Dr. David Reitzel, astronomer with the Griffith Observatory said.
For those worried that you have to get to a higher elevation to see the eclipse, “You can see it anywhere in Eastern horizon, from anywhere, as long as it’s not cloudy,” Reitzel explained.
If you can’t be outside to watch the event, you can view the live stream on the Griffith Observatory’s website.
“Enjoy friends and family, and plan for a few-hour event. It’s a great time to celebrate the fact we have these, it’s an exciting astronomy event, and for a short period of time we can forget our troubles and see the spectacle,” Reitzel excitedly told KTLA.
The entire eclipse — from the moment the moon starts to obscure the sun until it’s back to normal — will last 2 1/2 to three hours at any given spot. The event will be over in Southern California by 10:51 a.m. on Saturday.
Unlike Saturday, when the moon is too far from Earth to completely cover the sun from our perspective, the moon will be at the perfect distance on April 8, 2024.
If you want to plan ahead for next year’s total solar eclipse, the Griffith Observatory Foundation is offering all-inclusive trips hosted by astronomers to view the event across the country.