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(VIDEO) Ring of Fire eclipse to illuminate Wyoming skies on Oct. 14

The solar eclipse is seen just as totality ends on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — A unique astronomical event is on the horizon for Wyoming. On Oct.14, an annular solar eclipse, commonly known as the “ring of fire” eclipse, will be visible to many in the Western and Central regions of Wyoming.

Unlike a total solar eclipse where the moon completely blocks out the sun, an annular eclipse occurs when the moon is further from the Earth and does not cover the sun entirely. This results in a stunning visual where a ring of sunlight remains visible around the edges of the moon, creating the “ring of fire” effect.

According to the National Weather Service, this difference is attributed to the moon’s elliptical orbit around Earth, which means it can be closer or further away at different times. When the moon is closer, known as “perigee,” a total eclipse can occur. However, during the upcoming event, the moon will be closer to “apogee,” its furthest point from Earth.

Watch a video on the event by the National Weather Service in Riverton below.

For those in central Wyoming and surrounding areas, the eclipse will begin between 9:10 and 9:50 a.m., peaking around 10:30 a.m. and concluding around noon.

The coverage will vary, with places like Evanston and Rock Springs experiencing up to 80% coverage. Most areas in the region can expect between 70% and 80% coverage. Casper is looking at 73% coverage, according to the video by the National Weather Service in Riverton.

Viewers are reminded of the importance of using proper eye protection when watching the eclipse. “Do not look directly at the sun. Permanent eye damage can occur,” warns the National Weather Service. Eclipse glasses or a #16 welding helmet are recommended for safe viewing. Regular sunglasses are not sufficient and could result in permanent eye damage.

While this annular eclipse is unique, another notable event is on the horizon. In April 2024, a total solar eclipse is expected to be visible in some parts of the U.S.

Given the rarity of such events, locals are encouraged to make the most of the viewing opportunity. As with any outdoor event, weather can play a significant role. The National Weather Service acknowledges the unpredictability of sky cover forecasts more than two weeks in advance, but they remain hopeful for clear skies on the day.

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