How amazingly cool is this! Belize is on the direct path of the 2023 Ring of Fire Solar Eclipse. On Saturday, October 14, 2023, an annular or “ring of fire” solar eclipse will sweep across much of the Western Hemisphere. The darkest part of the moon’s shadow will slide from Oregon to Texas on Saturday morning, then cross the Gulf of Mexico into Central America; this includes Belize and Ambergris Caye.
Viewers inside this dark band (the path of annularity) will see a ring of light around the moon for up to 5 minutes. Viewers outside the path of annularity will see the crescent sun of a partial solar eclipse. How cool is it that we in Belize will get front row seats to see the ‘ring of fire’? The map below shows the path of the eclipse, and the approximate local time when the ring of fire will be visible. San Pedro will be ideally situated for optimal viewing in the very center of the path of the eclipse. The partial phase of the annular solar eclipse will begin at 9:52a.m., with the maximum obscurtion ‘Ring of Fire’ happening at 11;33a.m. The Annularity will end at 1:19p.m. It is projected that Ambergris Caye will experience a 91% occlusion. WOW!
Source: Eclipse data from NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio
Watching the Eclipse
Please do not look directly at the sun during the eclipse. It is never safe to look directly at the sun unless you use certified eclipse glasses, make a cardboard pinhole projector or look at the many crescent shadows cast by a tree. Looking directly at the sun can cause major damage to your retina and even blindness.
The moon travels an elliptical orbit around the Earth, appearing slightly larger or smaller in the sky depending on its distance. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s shadow falls on the Earth. If the moon is relatively close to the Earth, it will completely obscure the sun and cause a total eclipse. But if the moon is relatively far from the Earth, it will not appear large enough in the sky to fully obscure the sun, and will leave a ring of light — an annular eclipse.
The next total eclipse visible from the United States will be on April 8, 2024. So far the forecast for Belize on October 14 is for clear skies; keep your fingers crossed so we can view this spectacle with no obstructions. And please be careful not to look directly at the sun.