RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — For the first time since 2017, the U.S. will see a full solar eclipse. This time around, however, things will look a little different. The upcoming eclipse on Oct. 14 will be what’s called an annular eclipse, not a total eclipse like August 2017.
In essence, they’re not too terribly different, though.
The moon’s shadow from the sun will be cast on the Earth for a few hours that Saturday. Here’s the difference from 2017 though: the moon’s position in its orbit makes it an annular eclipse.
“Annular” means “ring,” and an annular eclipse is also known as a ring of fire eclipse. That’s because the moon is at or near the farthest point in its orbit from the Earth, which means its shadow doesn’t cover up the entire surface of the sun.
When in the path of an annular eclipse, it looks like there is quite literally a ring of fire up in the sky when an annular eclipse is occurring.
The path for the U.S. takes that ring of fire from Oregon through Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and finally through Texas, leaving the country near Corpus Christi.
In central North Carolina, we’ll see around 50% of the eclipse. Even for those in the path of the full eclipse, since it’s annular and some of the sun is still exposed, it’s not safe to look directly at it without full solar eye protection. The only time you can look at an eclipse with the naked eye is in the path of a full total eclipse. The next total eclipse isn’t far away; April 8, 2024.
The partial eclipse begins in Raleigh at 11:56 a.m. on October 14, peaks at 1:20 p.m. with 49% of the eclipse visible, and ends at 2:46 p.m.