Solar eclipse to cast shadows in California. Only a sliver will see rare ‘ring of fire’

On Oct. 14, the moon will cast its shadow and beam a “ring of fire” over Earth during a rare annular solar eclipse — but only a small corner of California will see its full effect.

According to NASA, the eclipse will be visible for millions of people in the western hemisphere. The annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon orbits between the Sun and Earth, but since the Moon is farther from Earth it will look smaller than the Sun and won’t completely cover it. This creates the “ring of fire” effect, the space agency said.

This is unlike a total solar eclipse, according to the National Weather Service, because in these events, the Moon’s orbit is closer to Earth and appears larger than the Sun, resulting in the Moon covering the Sun completely.

It won’t be until June 21, 2039, that there will be another annular solar eclipse, but even then, Alaska is the only state in the country that’ll be its path.

Where in California is the eclipse visible?

Alturas, in Modoc County by the Shasta Cascade region of Northern California and more than 300 miles from downtown Sacramento, is expected to be in the path of the annular solar eclipse — meaning that’s the only part of the state in which the “ring of fire” will be visible.

The rest of the state will see a partial eclipse — which is still be a spectacle. Across the Central Valley, including Sacramento, the sun will be about 80% covered. You’ll see more or less the farther northeast or southwest you live.

The partial eclipse starts at 8:05 a.m., according to NASA.

Emily Whitney, Courtney McKinney and Maya Aramouni, all of Sacramento, watch the partial solar eclipse near the state Capitol on Aug. 21, 2017.
Emily Whitney, Courtney McKinney and Maya Aramouni, all of Sacramento, watch the partial solar eclipse near the state Capitol on Aug. 21, 2017.

Once the eclipse starts, according to, the Moon’s silhouette will move in front of the Sun.

“The Sun looks as if a bite has been taken from it,” the world clock service said.

Annularity will then begin in the far northeast corner of California at 9:19 a.m. This is when the “ring of fire” appears.

The eclipse reaches its maximum near Alturas, meaning the Moon will cover the Sun’s center, at 9:20 a.m.

Annularity ends at 9:21 a.m. and the Moon will move out of the Sun’s way.

The eclipse ends at 10:43 a.m. when the Moon is no longer covering the Sun.

How to watch the ‘ring of fire’

Since the Sun won’t be completely blocked by the Moon, it’s necessary to take safety precautions.

Don’t look at the sun without eye protection, NASA said. You can use an indirect viewing method, such as a pinhole projection. With the pinhole projection, your back is facing the sun and you’d be projecting the sunlight through a hole onto another surface.

If you’re taking pictures with a camera or using binoculars or a telescope, you should have a special solar filter covering the front of the optics.

You can also use solar viewing glasses, also known as eclipse glasses, which are darker and safer than sun glasses.

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