Embrace the Celestial Spectacle: Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14, 2023

Are you ready for a celestial show that promises to leave you awestruck?  Mark your calendars for October 14, 2023, the second Saturday of Fiesta, when the skies will treat us to a mesmerizing annular solar eclipse.  It’s a rare and thrilling event that will turn your gaze skyward as the Moon dances in front of the Sun, creating a spectacular “Ring of Fire” in the heavens.

An annular solar eclipse photographed on May 20, 2012. Credit: NASA

What Is an Annular Solar Eclipse?

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon positions itself directly between the Earth and the Sun but is at its farthest point from our planet in its elliptical orbit. The Moon appears smaller than the Sun during this cosmic alignment, resulting in a unique spectacle. Unlike a total solar eclipse, where the Moon fully obscures the Sun, in an annular eclipse, a glowing ring of sunlight, or the “Ring of Fire,” surrounds the darkened disk of the Moon.

The Eclipse Timeline

The cosmic ballet will begin at 9:13 am, as the Moon begins to move in front of the Sun. However, the grandeur will peak at 10:37 am, when the Moon will be centered in front of the Sun. At this moment, the Sun, Moon, and Earth will align perfectly, offering us the celestial masterpiece we’ve been waiting for – the Ring of Fire. Adding to this enchanting spectacle, over 70 hot air balloons will light up Fiesta Field, creating a magical atmosphere that complements the cosmic display. The eclipse will gradually wind down, concluding at 12:09 pm when the Moon slowly slips past the Sun.

Safety First: Protecting Your Eyes

While this celestial event promises an unforgettable experience, it’s crucial to remember that observing a solar eclipse is dangerous to your eyes without proper protection. Throughout the annular solar eclipse, you must wear ISO 12312-2 certified solar viewing glasses or filters to shield your eyes from the Sun’s harmful rays. There will be no safe moment to view the eclipse with the naked eye, so please ensure you and your loved ones have the proper protective gear. Please also protect your electronics, including your cell phone and digital camera. Images of the eclipse must be taken with a proper filter in front of the camera’s eyepiece.  

“Sun, Moon, and You: Embrace the Dark, Celebrate the Light”

For those seeking an educational and immersive experience, the Balloon Museum is the place to be on October 14, 2023. The Balloon Museum will open early at 6am.  From 8am – 1pm, NASA, NOAA, and NSF scientists will have tents with a wide array of activities, expert talks, and viewing opportunities on the museum lawn. Telescopes equipped with special filters, sunspotters, solar glasses, and solar viewers will be available to help you safely observe the eclipse and the Sun itself. The event is aptly named “Sun, Moon, and You: Embrace the Dark, Celebrate the Light,” it promises to be an unforgettable event.

Eclipse Merchandise

Be sure to visit the Balloon Museum Shoppe to see our special eclipse merchandise, including one-of-a-kind shirts and posters! We also have solar viewing glasses and solar binoculars for sale.

So, mark your calendar, gather your friends and family, and prepare to be amazed by the celestial wonder of the annular solar eclipse on October 14, 2023.  Remember to prioritize safety by wearing the proper eyewear, and take advantage of the opportunity to engage with experts and fellow enthusiasts at the Balloon Museum.  It’s a day when the heavens align to create a moment of awe and inspiration for all who gaze upward.