PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Tens of thousands of people flocked to Oregon in 2017 to stand in the path of totality during the total solar eclipse. In 2023, they’ll have the chance to do it again, but this time for an annular eclipse.
The “Great American Eclipse” was visible in several states across the country on August 21, 2017. It was a total solar eclipse, which means the moon completely blocked the light of the sun.
In Oregon, eclipse-chasers set up camp in places like Newport, Salem, Madras and John Day to stand in the dark shadow cast on Earth in the middle of the day.
On Saturday, October 14, 2023, the path of an eclipse will cross Oregon again. However, this one won’t be as dark.
Instead, Oregon will fall on the path of an annular ellipse. According to NASA, this means the sun will create a “ring of fire” around the moon. The moon will look like a dark disk on top of a larger, bright disk.
Whether an eclipse is total or annular depends on the distance between the Earth, sun and moon.
When the sun is nearest to Earth and the moon is at or close to its farthest distance from Earth, it will not appear large enough to block out all the light from the sun completely.
However, if the moon is near enough to Earth at a time when the sun is farther away, a total solar eclipse can occur because the moon will appear large enough to cover the entire disk of the sun.
It will first touch the United States at 9:13 a.m. PT in Reedsport, Oregon. It will then move southeast over other places like Eugene, Roseburg, Crater Lake, Klamath Falls and Lakeview before crossing into Northern California and Nevada.
GreatAmericanEclipse.com, which is run by geographer Michael Zeiler and eclipse-chaser Polly White, says the maximum duration of annularity at the Oregon Coast is 4 minutes and 29 seconds.
NASA expects annularity will begin in Eugene at 9:16 a.m. PT.
It is never safe to look directly at the sun and NASA reminds anyone who plans to view the solar eclipse to use methods to avoid eye damage. People can use eclipse glasses or a pinhole projector to see it. NASA has more information online about how to safely watch and eclipse.