On Saturday, October 14, you’ll be able to watch an annular “ring of fire” eclipse as the moon passes in front of the sun at a distance where it’s unable to cover all of Earth’s nearest star. But only an exclusive crowd will be able to witness the event in its fully blazing glory—unless you know where to look.
Although it may be too late to travel to one of the best locations to watch this year’s final solar eclipse, nearly everyone in all 50 US states will have a chance to catch at least a glimpse (sorry western Alaska and western Hawaii). The 125-mile-wide path of annularity, however, will stretch from Oregon to Texas and cross just nine states before continuing on to Central and South America. You’ll only be able to see the sun form a fiery halo around the moon along that route. If you’re outside its range, you can simply load up one of several official livestreams to see what you’re missing.
How to watch the October 14, 2023 eclipse in person
The path of annularity will enter the US in Oregon at 12:13 p.m. Eastern Time (9:13 a.m. Pacific Time) and leave Texas at 1:30 p.m. ET (12:03 p.m. Central Time). The “ring of fire,” will pass over 29 national park sites and dozens of other pieces of public land. Worldwide, about 33 million people will be able to see it firsthand, while everyone else will have to settle for a less dramatic experience.
No matter where you are, make sure you’re wearing protective glasses to avoid damaging your eyes if you plan to look directly at the eclipse, or make a pinhole camera to project the event onto a sheet of paper. And of course, weather conditions may make it hard or impossible to see anything, so take note of the forecast.
If you want to know exactly what to expect where you are, astronomy website Time and Date has an interactive map that will help you set your eclipse-viewing plans. Once you’ve opened the map, click the magnifying glass icon on the left to open the search menu. Type the name of any city or town into the search bar and select it from the list that populates underneath. A pin will appear on the map and a box full of eclipse data will show up under the search bar.
That data will show you how much of the moon will cover the sun at that location, when the eclipse will begin and end there, when maximum coverage will occur, and the weather forecast for that spot on the globe. If you click the play icon next to the duration, you’ll go to another page where you can watch a simulation of what the eclipse will look like at that exact spot.
How to watch the annular “ring of fire” eclipse online
Just because you aren’t part of the 0.41 percent of people in the world who will be able to physically bear witness to the celestial spectacle doesn’t mean you’re stuck with whatever’s happening in the sky above you. All you have to do is turn your eyes away from the wonders of the natural world and look at a screen—there are four livestreams we think will offer an exquisite show.
The Exploratorium’s livestreams
The San Francisco-based Exploratorium will be broadcasting two livestreams starting at 8 a.m. PT (11 a.m. ET), one from their telescopes in Valley of the Gods, Utah, and another from their telescopes in Ely, Nevada. They will also broadcast Spanish-language coverage of the event starting at 9 a.m. PT (12 p.m. ET) on YouTube.
According to Time and Date, annularity—the “ring of fire”— will last 4 minutes and 46 seconds at the Valley of the Gods. There are morning clouds in the forecast, though, so the view might be obscured, but this has the potential to be the most scenic livestream on our list.
- Eclipse start: 9:10 a.m. Mountain Time (11:10 a.m. ET)
- “Ring of fire” start: 10:29 a.m. MT (12:29 p.m. ET)
- Eclipse start: 8:07 a.m. PT (11:07 a.m. ET)
- “Ring of fire” start: 9:24 a.m. PT (12:24 p.m. ET)
Time and Date’s livestream
Time and Date’s eclipse chasers will be broadcasting a livestream from Roswell, New Mexico. There, according to the website’s own interactive map, the annularity will last for 4 minutes and 41 seconds. It’s expected to be sunny there, so the view should be clear.
- Eclipse start: 9:15 a.m. MT (11:15 a.m. ET)
- “Ring of fire” start: 10:38 a.m. MT (12:38 p.m. ET)
NASA, of course, will also be livestreaming the eclipse, with feeds from Kerrville, Texas, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, starting at 11:30 a.m. ET. Annularity will last 4 minutes and 14 seconds at Kerrville, according to Time and Date.
- Eclipse start: 10:22 a.m. CT (11:22 a.m. ET)
- “Ring of fire” start: 11:50 a.m. CT (12:50 p.m. ET)
At Albuquerque, which is supposed to have sunny skies during the eclipse, annularity will last 4 minutes and 48 seconds.
- Eclipse start: 9:13 a.m. MT (11:13 a.m. ET)
- “Ring of fire” start: 10:34 a.m. MT (12:34 p.m. ET)
The space agency will also be broadcasting a live feed of three rocket launches that are part of its Atmospheric Perturbations around the Eclipse Path (APEP) mission to study how Earth’s ionosphere responds to a sudden drop in sunlight. You might want to cue that one up in a different browser window alongside the eclipse, or set up picture-in-picture on your device.
Whatever you do, just know that your scheduling calculations and technological machinations are probably way less complicated than all the math scientists do to predict the paths of future eclipses.