The stunning October annular solar eclipse will come to parts of Colorado in October

A rare celestial spectacle appears over Colorado on the second Saturday in October. It is the first eclipse to be seen in Colorado in the past six years. This time it is an annular solar eclipse and not a total eclipse.

This creates a “ring of fire” effect in a solar eclipse.

Hinode’s view of the eclipse on January 4, 2011. Image of an annular solar eclipse. Image credit: NASA/Hinode/XRT

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, but when it is at or near its furthest point from the Earth. The sun, moon and earth are perfectly aligned. As a result, the Moon will cover slightly less real estate. As a result, the Moon does not completely cover the Sun. So what you have is a dark disk on top of the larger, bright disk. This creates the ring around the moon.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona – May 20: A collection of images of the first annular eclipse seen in the United States since 1994 showing several phases, from left to right, as the eclipse passes through the annular and the sun changes color as the sun approaches sunset in May. January 20, 2012 in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Different from a total solar eclipse, the Moon in an annular eclipse appears too small to completely cover the Sun, leaving a ring of fire around the Moon. The eclipse casts a shallow path that crosses west from West Texas to Oregon and then heads across the North Pacific Ocean to Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

David McNew, Getty Images

The only problem this time, if you live in Colorado, is that you may have to drive to the Four Corners area to catch a glimpse of the total eclipse. The trail runs from Albuquerque to southern Oregon.

Credit: CBS4

The October eclipse will be on Saturday, October 14. Starting at 9:11 am. Reaching totality over southwest Colorado at 10:33 a.m.

In the Denver metro area, what is called a “partial solar eclipse” will occur. This means that the sun, moon, and Earth are not perfectly lined up, as if they would be above the four-corner area. So in Denver the total view will be about 84% at 10:36 AM. Departure at 9:14 am.

Only part of the sun will appear covered, giving it a crescent shape. During a total or annular solar eclipse, people outside the area covered by the Moon’s inner shadow see a partial solar eclipse.

A partial annular solar eclipse was seen from the coast of Xiamen, in southeastern China’s Fujian province on May 21, 2012. Millions turned their eyes to the sky on both sides of the Pacific Ocean as the solar eclipse created a “ring of fire” from Asia to the western United States.

AFP/Getty Images

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely obscures the face of the sun and when the moon is closest to the Earth or closest to perigee.

View of the solar corona during the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 from Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon.

Getty Images

The sky can darken as if it is dawn or dusk and the sun’s corona is visible. The next total solar eclipse in the United States will occur on April 8, 2024. Most of our states will not be able to see 100 percent of next year’s solar eclipse. Coverage is expected to be only about 60 to 70%. You may have to drive to Dallas to see the 100 percent full event.

People look through eclipse glasses, telescopes or cameras at an annular solar eclipse, on September 1, 2016, in Saint Louis, on the island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean. Stargazers in southern and central Africa witnessed a stunning solar eclipse on September 1, 2016, when the moon wandered over the horizon to make the sun appear like a “ring of fire,” astronomers said. This phenomenon, known as an annular solar eclipse, occurs when there is a near-perfect alignment of the Earth, Moon and Sun. But unlike a total eclipse, when the Sun is obscured, the Moon is sometimes too far from Earth, and its apparent diameter is too small, to be completely covered.

Richard Bohit/AFP/Getty Images

Be safe! It is never safe to look directly into the sun’s rays – even if the sun is partially obscured. When viewing a partial eclipse you should wear eclipse glasses at all times if you want to face the sun, or use an alternative indirect method.

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