PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Ahead of the 2023 Ring of Fire annular eclipse on Oct. 14, officials are warning eclipse chasers to protect their eyes during of the cosmic phenomenon.
The annular eclipse — which occurs when the moon moves between the Earth and the sun but does not entirely cover the sun — can be viewed in several areas in Oregon, including the Newport coastline, and areas near Fort Rock and La Pine, according to Oregon State Parks.
The state agency warns that it’s not safe to look directly at the sun during an annular eclipse without special solar filters.
While Oregon State Parks says they can’t promise clear skies to view the eclipse, the agency is handing out a limited number of glasses across state parks to safely view the eclipse.
The American Astronomical Society has a list of retailers selling eclipse glasses and solar viewers, including American Paper Optics, Celestial Optical, Halo Eclipse Spectacles, Flip’n Shades, Alpine Astronomical, and Rainbow Symphony.
The astronomical society warns consumers to watch for safety certifications, explaining that in the weeks leading up to the August 2017 solar eclipse, online marketplaces including Amazon and eBay featured eclipse glasses and viewers that were not properly tested.
Officials warn against using homemade filters or watching the eclipse with sunglasses. According to NASA, safe solar viewers are “thousands of times darker” than regular sunglasses and should meet ISO 12312-2 certification. These glasses reduce visible sunlight and block “all but a tiny fraction” of solar UV and IR radiation, according to Oregon State Parks.
NASA notes it does not approve a particular brand of solar viewers.
NASA adds, “Do not look at the Sun through a camera lens, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while wearing eclipse glasses or using a handheld solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will burn through the filter and cause serious eye injury.”
Although other Oregonians — namely, Portlanders — aren’t located in the path of annularity, they’ll still have the opportunity to view the partial eclipse. The eclipse will start at 8:06 a.m., peak at 9:19 a.m., and end at 10:39 a.m. that morning.