Plan Ahead for the 2023 Annular Solar Eclipse — and a Visit to Dark Sky Parks

This week Canada, Greenland, and Russia considered a short “ring of fireside” annular photo voltaic eclipse, which introduced a crescent Solar to the northeast U.S. Occurring at dawn in North America, the photo voltaic eclipse was low on the horizon and due to this fact troublesome to see; in the meantime cross-border eclipse-chasing proved all however unattainable. Fortuitously, we’ll have one other shot quickly sufficient.

So when is the following such eclipse? On October 14, 2023, an annular photo voltaic eclipse will once more be seen from the U.S., this time from a roughly 125-mile-wide path of annularity that passes by way of Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas earlier than it Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, and Brazil. Everybody within the Americas will see a partial photo voltaic eclipse that may final greater than 2.5 hours. Bear in mind: Eclipse glasses and photo voltaic filters must be used all over the place, and all through the spectacle.

map showing the 2023 eclipse path
A map displaying visibility for the annular photo voltaic eclipse on October 14, 2023.
Michael Zeiler /

The dramatic view of the Solar as a roughly 90%-eclipsed “ring of fireside” will principally function a warm-up for the rather more anticipated occasion six months later, when a complete photo voltaic eclipse strikes Mexico, the U.S., and Canada on April 8, 2024. The paths of the 2 eclipses each cross part of Texas — from there it will likely be potential to see two solar eclipses within six months.

a map showing the eclipse lines for 2023 and 2024 intersecting at texas
Nationwide Parks contained in the paths of the 2023 and 2024 photo voltaic eclipses.
Michael Zeiler /

Whereas 2024’s naked-eye totality will likely be an unparalleled expertise, the timing and site of the 2023 eclipse will ship some excessive drama by way of eclipse glasses. “The eclipse is a morning occasion, which implies that the eclipsed Solar will likely be juxtaposed in opposition to the long-lasting landscapes of the American West,” says John Barentine (International Dark-Sky Association). “The length of annularity is reasonably brief at solely about 4 and a half minutes, resulting in a reasonably skinny ring at mid-eclipse—a sight that few observers will overlook.”

The eclipse will happen when the Solar is 17º to 49º above the horizon within the southeast daytime sky, so it’ll be well-positioned for viewing. Additionally, the prospects of a clear sky within the western U.S. in October are reasonably good; fall days and nights within the Colorado Plateau are sometimes clear and dry.

milky way above the silhouette of rock pinnacles
The Milky Method soars above rock pinnacles of Chesler Park in Canyonlands Nationwide Park, as it can at the hours of darkness nights round 2023’s annular photo voltaic eclipse.
NPS / Emily Ogden

Nonetheless, what also needs to persuade newbie astronomers to take a street journey in 2023 is the prospect of fabulous stargazing below darkish night time skies. “For the reason that eclipse can solely occur near a New Moon, there will likely be little or no moonlight interference for nighttime observing for a number of nights on both facet of eclipse day,” says Barentine.

October nights additionally supply one of the best of the Milky Method at daybreak and nightfall, whereas the minor Draconids and Orionids meteor showers will peak the week earlier than and after the eclipse, respectively. Venus will likely be at its highest level above the horizon within the morning sky whereas Jupiter will likely be near its brilliant annual opposition.


Darkish Sky Parks Alongside the Eclipse Path

This eclipse will likely be seen from many state and nationwide parks, together with no fewer than 20 Worldwide Darkish Sky Parks. Three of them — Devils River State Pure Space, Bloodbath Rim Wilderness Space, and Rainbow Bridge Nationwide Monument — are distant International Dark Sky Sanctuaries. A few of these noticed the sundown annular photo voltaic eclipse of Could 20, 2012. There are numerous different tantalizing observing places, together with Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park on the Utah/Arizona border.

map showing park locations for 2023 eclipse
There are dozens of nationwide parks and sweetness spots in or near the “path of annularity” on October 14, 2023.
Michael Zeiler /

Right here we current solely the Worldwide Darkish Sky Parks, with every accompanied by that location’s “ring time,” the altitude of the eclipse, and the place that location is with respect to the trail of annularity.

Darkish Sky Park Size of annular part Eclipse altitude Location in path of annularity
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah 2 minutes, 15 seconds 30º Southern edge
Canyonlands National Park, Utah 2 minutes, 24 seconds 31º Northern edge
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah four minutes, 37 seconds 30º Centerline
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico four minutes, 42 seconds 34º Centerline
Devils River State Natural Area, Texas 2 minutes, 19 seconds 45º Southern edge
Fremont Indian State Park, Utah four minutes, 39 seconds 29º Centerline
Great Basin National Park, Nevada three minutes, 29 seconds 27º In direction of southern edge
Goosenecks State Park, Utah four minutes, 40 seconds 32º Centerline
Goblin Valley State Park, Utah 2 minutes, 55 seconds 30º In direction of northern edge
Hovenweep National Monument, Utah and Colorado three minutes, 47 seconds 32º In direction of northern edge
Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah 2 minutes, 28 seconds 30º In direction of southern edge
Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area, Utah three minutes, 57 seconds 22º In direction of southern edge
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado 2 minutes, 58 seconds 33º In direction of northern edge
Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah four minutes, 28 seconds 31º Centerline
Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Arizona three minutes, 12 seconds 31º In direction of southern edge
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, New Mexico four minutes, three seconds 37º In direction of southern edge
South Llano River State Park, Texas four minutes, 28 seconds 45º Centerline
Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico three minutes, 31 seconds 35º In direction of northern edge
Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico four minutes, 34 seconds 36º Centerline
UBarU Camp and Retreat Center, Texas three minutes, 54 seconds 46º In direction of northern edge

“Among the many darkest Worldwide Darkish Sky Parks that may see true annularity or are inside affordable driving distance of the centerline, I’d depend Pure Bridges Nationwide Monument, Hovenweep Nationwide Monument, Rainbow Bridge Nationwide Monument, the Bloodbath Rim Wilderness Research Space, and the southern reaches of Capitol Reef,” says Barentine.

As an added focal point, some suppose that the “Piedra del Sol” petroglyph carved by Ancestral Puebloan folks in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon might characterize the photo voltaic corona as seen throughout a complete photo voltaic eclipse on July 11, 1097, although it’s a controversial declare. “However, after all,” Barentine provides, “each park has one thing particular to supply and visiting any of them is a worthwhile expertise.”

a yellow, round petroglyph with tentacle like arms coming off of it against an brown background
Does the “Piedra del Sol” petroglyph in Chaco Canyon characterize an eclipse of the Solar?
J. McKim Malville / College of Colorado

On the precise day of the eclipse, it might make sense to place your self on the restrict of the trail of annularity. “For a complete photo voltaic eclipse, you wish to be close to the center of the trail of totality for the longest length, however for annular eclipses, the northern or southern limits of the trail have nice attraction,” says Michael Zeiler, a Santa Fe-based cartographer who runs “From there you’ll see a improbable mild present because the final bits of daylight — known as Baily’s Beads — rotate in regards to the disk of .” Nonetheless, doing so does sacrifice how lengthy you see the ring.

a ring of fire eclipse above red clouds
The annular eclipse of Could 20, 2012, as seen from Wolfforth, Texas.
Eddie Wimberley / Wikipedia

Both approach, you possibly can plan your observing utilizing this map, which has embedded links to topography to make sure you get a transparent view of the eclipse. You may also simulate exactly what you’ll see.

Eclipse-chasing in all its types is a superb excuse to discover our planet — however provided that you propose forward. “Vacationers might properly wish to search for reservations as a lot as a yr upfront,” says Barentine. “A skinny ring at mid-eclipse and plenty of good nights of stargazing below darkish night time skies make this a visit to not be missed.”

Jamie Carter is the Editor of and the writer of a number of eclipse travel guides.

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