TOPEKA, Kan. — No, it doesn’t have anything to do with love or Johnny Cash. But if you crane your head back, you can catch a glimpse of this very real “Ring of Fire” in the sky later this fall.
Kansans are set to experience an annular solar eclipse later this year when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun while it is at its farthest point from Earth, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The eclipse, also known as a “ring of fire,” will cross over North, Central and South America in fall 2023 and be partially visible to residents of the Sunflower State.
Sister station KSNT spoke with Brenda Culbertson, a solar system ambassador with NASA, about the upcoming celestial event.
She said it will appear on Oct. 14, 2023. Missourians and Kansans should able to see 60-80% of it when it occurs, depending on where they live in the state.
“An annular solar eclipse is often called Ring of Fire because that is what it looks like during the maximum eclipse, the time when (the) moon covers the most part of (the) sun during the event,” Culbertson said.
“It appears like a fire ring in the sky and is not safe to look at without proper filters, such as eclipse glasses.”
In order to see the full eclipse, you would need to take a road trip. People in Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Texas will be able to see the full eclipse. The path of the eclipse can be seen below:
As the sun is never completely blocked by the moon during an annular solar eclipse, it is not safe to view without special protection, according to Culbertson and NASA.
You should use solar viewing glasses or a handheld solar viewer at all times. Looking at the sun through a camera lens, binoculars or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter over the front of the optics will cause instant severe eye injury.
Culbertson said the event will start at 10:25 a.m. October 14, 2023, for people in Northeast Kansas as the curvature of the moon starts to be visible against the sun. The eclipse will be at its fullest around 11:49 a.m. with the eclipse ending at 1:19 p.m. The event will last almost three hours.
This will be the last annular solar eclipse visible from the continental U.S. until June 21, 2039, according to NASA. This event will only be visible from Alaska.
Next year, Kansans can look forward to seeing an even more impressive event in the form of a total solar eclipse. Northeast Kansas residents will be able to see 90% of this eclipse, while some in the southeast seeing upwards of 95%. The last time this event occurred was in 2017, capturing the attention of millions across the country.
To learn more about the upcoming eclipse, see this resource from NASA.