Have you heard about the solar eclipse that will occur during the middle of October?  On Saturday, October 14th an annular solar eclipse will cross most of the United States including the ArkLaTex. 

Annular Solar Eclipse is observed on May 21, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. It is the first time in 25 years since last annular solar eclipse was observed in Japan. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)

What is an annular solar eclipse?  An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon crosses between the sun and Earth at a time when it is near its farthest point from Earth.  Because of this distance, it is not large enough to cover the entire surface of the sun and leaves the edges of the sun’s disk uncovered creating what is called the ‘ring of fire’.

The path of this ‘ring of fire’ will be to the southwest of the ArkLaTex over southwest and southern Texas.  While we will miss out the the best that this eclipse has to offer, it will still block out more than three-quarters of the sun.  

In Shreveport, the show will begin at 10:29 when the moon begins to move in front of the sun just to the right of the top of the sun.  At 11:58 a.m., the eclipse will reach its peak and nearly 81% of the sun will be covered by the moon.  The eclipse will end shortly before 1:30 p.m.  

The timing and extent of the eclipse won’t be that much different as you travel around our area.  For example, in Texarkana the show will begin at 10:29 a.m.  It will reach its peak at 11:56 a.m.when nearly 80% of the sun’s disk will be blocked by the moon.  The eclipse will end shortly before 1:30 p.m.  

Thanks to the scattering of sunlight caused by the Earth’s atmosphere, it will remain rather bright outside.  You will not need to turn on your car’s headlights.  However,  you will be able to tell that it seems a little darker outside.  Just because 80% of the sun will be covered, DO NOT be tempted to look at it without protecting your eyes.  You could do serious damage to your eyes’ retinas extremely quickly.  Eclipse glasses are very inexpensive. You can pick up a 10-pack for about $15.  If you do get some glasses to view the eclipse, be sure to keep them.  Parts of the ArkLaTex will experience a total solar eclipse in April of 2024.