COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — It’s the first solar eclipse since 2017.

Many across the US will get to experience an annular or partial eclipse, depending on your location. During an annular eclipse, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun while it’s at its greatest distance.

Due to the moons position, it will not cover up the sun entirely like the total solar eclipse in 2017, but instead it will create a ring around the moon in what’s known as the “ring of fire”.

This map illustrates the paths of the Moon’s shadow across the U.S. during the 2023 annular solar eclipse. On October 14, 2023, an annular solar eclipse will cross North, Central, and South America creating a path of annularity. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth while at its farthest point from Earth. Because the Moon is farther away from Earth, it does not completely block the Sun. This will create a “ring of fire” effect in the sky for those standing in the path of annularity.
Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

While those living outside of the path of annularity will not be able to see the “ring of fire,” they’ll still be able to witness a partial solar eclipse. A partial solar solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and Earth but the sun, moon and Earth are not perfectly lined up. When this happens the maximum eclipse is a crescent shaped sun.

For Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley, expect the partial eclipse to begin around 11:40 a.m. EST. Over the course of a few hours, you’ll notice the moon begin to move over the face of the sun with roughly 55% of the sun covered. The sky will dim slightly or appear as if clouds have moved overhead — you’ll notice the difference if you’re outside.

What to expect from Saturday’s partial solar eclipse

After Saturday, the next solar eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024, when the moon perfectly lines up with the sun and the Earth and blocks out roughly 100% of the suns light.

Courtesy: Dr. Shawn Cruzen. Total Solar Eclipse from August 2017

April’s total solar eclipse will stretch from Texas through Maine, placing a good chunk of the U.S. in the path of totality, which occurs when the sun is completely blocked out by the moon. The sky will darken as if it is dusk or dawn and the temperatures may even lower due to the lack of sunlight. This is also the time when you’ll be able to view the suns outer atmosphere or “Corona.”

Unfortunately for us here in Columbus and across the Chattahoochee Valley, we will not be in the path of totality, but we’ll still experience a partial solar eclipse with roughly 70% of the suns light blocked out.

Safety First:

Never look directly at the sun! You’ll need special eyewear during the solar eclipse this weekend and also on April 8 2024. Solar eclipse glasses are available at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center while supplies last.