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The 2023 “Ring of Fire”: What It Is and Why It Matters

collage of different phases of an eclipse

collage of different phases of an eclipse

The countdown is on to one of the most exciting space phenomena you can see with the naked eye from down here on earth: the 2023 annular eclipse.

Some people wait their whole lives to experience the magic that is a solar eclipse and see the famous “ring of fire.” At Rainbow Symphony, we’ll walk you where to see this next annular eclipse in the U.S., explain what a “ring of fire” is, and give you safe viewing tips.

Eclipse Basics

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon either totally or partially obscures the sun. This blocks out light, and for a thrilling moment that can last up to several minutes, the day turns to night, temperatures change, and an emotion you’ve never felt takes over. They can occur as often as once a year or every several years, and are only visible at certain times and places on the planet.

There are three major types of solar eclipses.

  • Total eclipses are the rarest. They occur when the sun is perfectly blocked by the moon, covering the sun completely.
  • Partial eclipses are when the moon passes the sun at an imperfect angle, such that a crescent sliver of the sun is always visible. They still create a dramatic change in lighting, with a dusk-like hue and intensified colors. Additionally, partial eclipses also occur during total & annular eclipses when you're out of the path of totality.
  • Annular eclipses are when the moon is perfectly centered as it passes the sun; however, it does not perfectly cover the sun. A ring of sunlight is still visible around the moon.

In addition to these, a hybrid eclipse can occur, which is a combination of a total and annular eclipse that transitions between each other throughout the duration of the eclipse.

The next annular eclipse that is most convenient for U.S., Central America, and South America residents to view occurs on October 14, 2023. Provided there’s clear weather, hundreds of thousands of people will be able to witness sky go dim as the eclipse path passes directly over the western United States, some areas in Central America, and the northern part of South America.

What is the Ring of Fire?

The next annular eclipse that many U.S., Central, and South America residents can view from their backyards will leave a ring of sunlight visible around the black silhouette of the moon—that creates the famous “ring of fire”.

The ring of fire is different from the corona or the chromosphere. The corona is the outer atmosphere of the sun that is only visible during a total solar eclipse, appearing as a magical, pearly white halo. It contains tenuous gases that are normally hiding in plain sight, obscured by the bright light of the photosphere. During a total solar eclipse, the corona is visible in ways that scientists cannot perfectly replicate today even with current technology.

The ring of fire, aptly named, is brighter than the corona, and is truly an incredible sight. Viewing the next annular eclipse in the U.S. and Central America with appropriate eyewear will give you a newfound appreciation for the scale and beauty of the universe.

Don’t Risk Your Eyesight

It’s important to have proper protective eyewear when viewing a solar eclipse. When you look at the sun during the day, your pupils are already adjusted to take in bright light. When the sky goes suddenly dark during an eclipse, your pupils will expand, or dilate, to take in more light. Then, when the sun appears again, your pupils will not contract quickly enough to mitigate the effect of the unfiltered rays, taking in far more light than they are meant to. To view the next annular eclipse occurring in major parts of the U.S. safely, you need specialized eclipse glassesnot sunglasses.

The eclipse glasses we offer are made in the USA. Trusted by NASA and AAS, they’re certified to meet ISO standards 12312-2:2015. Rainbow Symphony eclipse glasses are "CE" Certified--they meet the requirements for transmission for scale 12-16 of EN 169/1992 for safety in direct solar viewing. Our 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 lenses are constructed with scratch-resistant materials with grade-five optical density, which ensures protection from solar radiation. Black/silver polymer blocks out 100% of ultraviolet light, infrared light, and 99.999% of intense visible light. The filters on the lenses produce orange-colored images of the sun, with sharper detail, enhancing your viewing experience like no other.

Shop Rainbow Symphony: The Top Supplier of Eclipse Glasses Online

We hold our eclipse glasses to the highest standard quality while still keeping them affordable for every budget. To enjoy the next annular eclipse in the safest and clearest way possible, shop Rainbow Symphony today. Save when you buy in bulk!

Have a question about our eclipse glasses or other products? Contact us by phone today at 818-708-8400 or by email at rainbowsymphony@rainbowsymphony.com.