RICHFIELD, Utah (ABC4) – Mark your calendars, Utah. The Beehive State is in the direct path of a solar eclipse that would cross over the central and southern portions of the state this October.

According to NASA, the annular solar eclipse will be visible to millions of people in the Western Hemisphere on Saturday, October 14, 2023. According to a map of the eclipse’s path, the eclipse will pass right over Utah with the best viewing in Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks, as well as central and southeast cities such as Delta, Richfield, and Bluff.

The pathway map of the annular solar eclipse that will cover most of Utah on October 14, 2023.
The pathway map of the annular solar eclipse that will cover most of Utah on October 14, 2023. (Image courtesy of NASA)

Times of complete annularity and partial eclipse will vary depending on where you’re watching the eclipse happen. In Richfield, the partial eclipse will begin around 9:09 a.m. with the maximum eclipse happening at about 10:28 a.m. The annularity will end at 10:31 and the moon will completely pass over the sun just before noon.

Not willing or unable to make the travel down to central or southern Utah? Not to worry. In Salt Lake City and in St. George, falls within the 90% eclipse range, still making for a spectacular view of the astronomical event.

An annular solar eclipse differs from a total solar eclipse in that the sun is never completely blocked out by the Moon. During a total eclipse, the Moon is closer to Earth and completely blocks the face of the sun, casting a complete shadow. During an annular eclipse, the Moon is at or near its farthest point from Earth and so it doesn’t completely cover the Sun. The Moon will appear as a dark disk against the Sun, creating what looks like a bright ring around it.

The next total eclipse in the United States will be on April 8, 2024, though its direct pathway will fly over New York through Texas. In Salt Lake City, only about 45% of the Sun will be covered by the Moon.

NASA said its unsafe to look directly at the Sun without specialized eye protection. In fact, looking at the bright sun through a camera lens, binoculars or a telescope with a special-purpose solar filter will instantly cause severe eye injury.

The eclipse can be viewed safely through safe solar viewing glasses, or eclipse glasses. There are also indirect viewing methods that do not involve looking directly at the sun such as a pinhole project which has a small opening and projects the image of the sun onto a nearby surface.

NASA also warns not to combine eclipse glasses with cameras, binoculars or telescopes. Viewing tools require proper solar filters to view through in order to protect your eyes. If using a solar filter on your camera, binoculars, or telescope, though, you will not need eclipse glasses.