FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA)– On Saturday, October 14th, an annular eclipse will take place over parts of the western and southern United States. This is a rare phenomenon known as the “Ring of Fire.”
Even though our location won’t be in the narrow path of annularity to see the “Ring of Fire,” Northwest Arkansas, River Valley, Southwest Missouri, and Northeast Oklahoma will still have the chance for partial viewing of the upcoming eclipse IF the weather cooperates. I’ll have more on the cloud cover forecast later in this blog.
So what is an annular eclipse and what causes the “Ring of Fire?”
An annular eclipse takes place when the Moon crosses in front of the path of the Sun. Unlike a total solar eclipse, an annular eclipse does not reach totality, because the Moon is too far from the Earth (known as apogee) to cover up the entire Sun. This leads to the “Ring of Fire” effect as the Moon appears small enough to fit in the center of the Sun. That’s why you will see a glowing ring around the Moon during maximum eclipse, but only in the path of the Annular Eclipse.
For Northwest Arkansas, Southwest Missouri, River Valley, and Northeast Oklahoma, the Sun will still be 60-70% covered at maximum partial eclipse across the region, meaning the area won’t see the full “Ring of Fire,” however, there will still be a partial eclipse to experience with proper eye protection, lens protection, and DIY solar eclipse viewing boxes.
During the eclipse, remember to never look directly at the eclipse without proper eye protection and lens protection for cameras. Before putting on proper eye protection make sure to check for damage or tears that could pose a risk for eye injury. When taking photos with cameras, be sure to use proper filters, as eclipse glasses over the lens will not work properly.
Another fun way to view the eclipse safely is to make your own eclipse viewer. You and your kids can make these using the instructions (nine images) provided below.
Lastly, let’s talk about the weather forecast for Saturday around noon. Unfortunately, there’s a likely chance for cloud cover moving in from the north during the late morning hours Saturday. We’ll be located behind a large low-pressure system located to our northeast, which will cause an increase in low & middle-level clouds. When you combine the cloud cover and the brisk northerly wind around 10-20 mph with higher gusts, it will lead to a chilly day with lunchtime temperatures around 50°F. If you really want to experience the partial eclipse, you’ll likely need to travel out of the weather coverage area, as the River Valley will also see mostly cloudy skies around lunchtime tomorrow. If you’re looking for the next “closest” spot to check out the eclipse, you will likely need to travel to Little River county near the Texarkana area!
For more on eclipse safety visit NASA’s Website for safety tips on lens protectors, eclipse glasses, and more.
We’ll keep you updated with the forecast, so keep it here with the latest weather forecast. — Chief Meteorologist Dan Skoff
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