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5 Reasons an Annular Eclipse is as Cool as a Total Eclipse

annular solar eclipse

There’s no denying that a total solar eclipse is a truly epic event. Yet, let’s be honest, most people only have a rare opportunity to see a total solar eclipse. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Total solar eclipses are extraordinarily rare events, happening only once or every other year. That's not a lot and many of these events happen over sparsely populated areas.
  • The path of totality for a total solar eclipse (the area that achieves total darkness) is fairly narrow, typically around 50 - 70 miles wide. The path in 2024 will be 150 miles wide!
  • A total solar eclipse is a rare event for most regions. Sometimes, there can be hundreds of years in between when a total solar eclipse can be observed at certain locations.

Don’t be discouraged, however! There are other spectacular solar events you can witness that can give you the same sense of awe and wonderment as a total solar eclipse. For instance, consider the annular solar eclipse. This phenomenon is similar in scope to a total solar eclipse in every way. There are major differences between an annular and total solar eclipse: for one, observers won’t experience the darkness that takes place during a total solar eclipse because the moon’s position will not allow it to fully cover the sun.

There’s good news for eclipse watchers in the United States: there’s an annular solar eclipse in 2023, which is only six months before the total solar eclipse in 2024. The 2023 annular solar eclipse will take place in the western US, with its path making landfall in Oregon and exiting the US through southern Texas. If you live in these areas, we highly encourage you to mark the annular solar eclipse on your calendar and make plans to view this incredible event.

Here are five reasons why you don’t want to miss out on an annular solar eclipse.

1. You’ll Be Able to Observe an Astounding Astronomical Phenomenon

People often focus on the beauty of a total solar eclipse...and they’re not wrong to do so. They are amazing events for a host of reasons. Yet, with the difference between an annular and total solar eclipse being so small, you’ll find that observing an annular eclipse is equally as stunning in every way, with the exception of the moments of darkness and viewing a spectacular corona. Don’t let this dissuade you! Annular solar eclipses are every bit as breathtaking in their own right.

2. You’ll Observe a Jaw-Dropping “Ring of Fire”

eclipse ring of fire

Because of the positioning of the moon relative to the sun during an annular solar eclipse, the moon does not completely cover the sun as it would during a total solar eclipse, making total darkness impossible. However, you’ll still be able to observe an astounding ring of fire (the “annulus”) It’s a breathtaking phenomenon. It's the difference between an annular and total solar eclipse.

3. You’ll Still Experience (Almost) Total Darkness

It’s true that during an annular eclipse you will not experience total darkness, yet there will still be a gradual dimming of daylight. For those annular eclipse watchers who are in the path of annularity, they will experience a beautiful dimming of the light, resulting in a surreal view of the landscape.

4. You’ll Witness Unique Animal Behavior

One of the more astounding effects of an eclipse is how it can confuse the animal kingdom. As darkness approaches in the middle of the day, perplexed animals begin to hush themselves since they believe night time has come early. Although this is a more notable feature of a total solar eclipse.

5. You’ll Be Part of a Communal Event

people watching eclipse

One of our favorite parts of any eclipse is the fact that we get to share an incredible moment in time with family, friends, and complete strangers. Trust us, once you experience your first eclipse of any kind, you’ll be mapping out your plan for the next one!

Stay Safe with Eclipse Glasses from Rainbow Symphony

It’s important to remember that there’s no difference between an annular and total solar eclipse when it comes to safety. You’ll still need a safe eclipse viewer to ensure your eyes are protected.

You’ll want to protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation during eclipses and solar events with eclipse glasses that are trusted by the AAS and NASA, and do meet the standard for ISO 12312-2:2015. These glasses are "CE" Certified, meaning they meet the transmission requirements for scale 12-16 of EN 169/1992 for completely safe direct solar viewing. All of Rainbow Symphony’s eclipse sunglasses meet the 2012 Transmission Requirements of EN 1836:2005 and AS/NZS 1338.1:1992 for eclipse filters (Queensland Directive).

Rainbow Symphony’s specialty solar viewing lenses are made of scratch-resistant materials, featuring optical density five lenses. This guarantees absolute protection from potentially harmful solar radiation. “Black Polymer” completely filters out 100% of ultraviolet light, infrared light, and 99.999% of intense visible light. These premium filters will produce a light orange-colored image of the sun with sharper focused clarity and no visual distortion.


Have questions about how to stay safe for the annular solar eclipse in 2023? Contact us today for more information or to make your order for safe and effective eclipse eyewear.