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In America, the eclipse will cause a “ring of fire” to appear in the sky on Saturday

In America, the eclipse will cause a “ring of fire” to appear in the sky on Saturday

Americans will have the chance to observe the annular eclipse for the first time on Saturday, when the moon is expected to cover the sun for a few minutes, revealing the “ring of fire.”

The eclipse will then be visible in many Central and South American countries (Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, etc.).

During an annular eclipse, the Moon is slightly further away from the Earth than it was during a total eclipse, and so its diameter appears, from our view, slightly smaller than the diameter of the Sun – which produces this orange ‘annular’ colour.

Getty Images via AFP

This event, which promises to dazzle millions of people, is a scientific opportunity for NASA, which plans to closely study changes in temperature and atmosphere.

To admire it, special approved glasses must be worn, even for those far from the ideal observation area, who will therefore only see a partial eclipse, the US space agency insisted.

The eclipse will be visible from about 9:15 am local time in the US state of Oregon, and it will cross the United States until it appears at about 11:50 am local time in the sky of South Texas.

In America, the eclipse will lead to an appearance

Getty Images via AFP

In total, they can be observed in parts of eight US states (along with California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico).

The “circle of fire” that exposes the edge of the sun will last from a few tens of seconds to more than 5 minutes, depending on the observing site.

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In the United States, “more than 6.5 million people are living in the path of the eclipse,” NASA’s Alex Lockwood explained in a press conference. She added that about 68 million people live within about 300 kilometers of the road, or just a few hours’ drive away.

“Everyone in the continental United States will be able to see a partial eclipse,” the official said.

NASA plans to broadcast a video program on its website, with live broadcasts from New Mexico and Texas.

In Albuquerque, the large annual hot air balloon festival held at the same time promises to provide dramatic visuals.

Sounding missiles

The event also serves as a dress rehearsal before the planned April 2024 total eclipse over the United States.

Madhulika Guhathakurta, a scientist in NASA’s Heliophysics Division, said that these two eclipses, annular and total, “will be very exciting for scientific research.”

She explained: “During a solar eclipse, there is a significant decrease in the density of electrons in the ionosphere,” which is a layer of the atmosphere.

She stressed, “Although the atmospheric effects of solar eclipses have been studied for more than 50 years, many questions still remain.” For example, “How much is the ionosphere affected, for how long, and why is this happening?”

NASA will launch three sonic rockets from White Sands Army Base in New Mexico: one before the eclipse, one during it, and one after the event.

The goal is to collect data on the magnetic and electric fields, electron density, and temperature, which would be reduced by the shadow created by the Moon. This can also destabilize the animals.

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A total eclipse occurred in 2017 in the United States. After April, the next event will happen in 2044 in the country.

The total eclipse will also be visible in Spain in August 2026.

The Sun is about 400 times larger than the Moon, but it is also 400 times farther away, which is why the two stars appear similar in size from Earth.