By Zach Butler, Meteorologist Posted 1 month ago October 12, 2023
Annular Solar Eclipse Forecast
The annular solar eclipse is set to cross the US, Central America, and South America on October 14, 2023. The eclipse will start in western Oregon after 8:00 am PDT and track through Texas just after 10:00 am CDT. Cloud coverage will be an issue for many areas in the West, but will improve through the Southwest and into Texas.
- The annular solar eclipse is when the Moon appears smaller than the Sun and does not completely cover the Sun, as in a total eclipse it does
- The Moon does not completely cover the Sun in an annular eclipse because the Moon is at or near its farthest point from Earth
- The viewing of the Sun's outer edge is called the 'Ring of Fire'
- A partial solar eclipse will be viewed before and after the Ring of Fire maximum and for those outside of the direct path
Viewing Condition Takeaways
- Mixed clouds throughout the Western US with thicker clouds closer to the coast
- Few clouds and even clear skies through the Southwest and into Texas
- Viewing conditions will be BEST in southern Utah, the 4-corners region, and through central Texas
You can keep a tab on the latest cloud cover forecast using the OpenSnow cloud cover map, which has the forecast up to 40 hours in advance. You can also use the Forecast Anywhere tool to view the percentage of cloud cover for any location!
Clouds will cover most of Oregon as the eclipse begins just after 8:00 am PDT and ends before 11:00 am PDT (Ring of Fire Maximum at 9:20 am PDT). Clouds will be thickest the closer you are to the coast and break up a little bit around the California and Nevada border.
Viewing conditions will not be ideal, however, the Moon and clouds will block out most of the Sun's light, creating near darkness for the Ring of Fire Maximum path.
Despite not being in the direct path, some areas in central Oregon and further north will have partly clear skies at times during the eclipse with 75-85% of the Sun covered by the Moon.
Viewing conditions will improve in Nevada but there will still be a mix of sun and clouds throughout the state as the eclipse begins after 8:00 am PDT and ends around 11:00 am PDT (Ring of Fire Maximum at 9:25 am PDT). Some interior areas will have brief glimpses of clear skies for the Ring of Fire around the Sun.
Nearby areas in southern Idaho will have a mix of sun and clouds as well. Clouds will increase closer to the Sierra, with the best viewing conditions in southern NV. Mostly clear skies are expected if you want to view 75-85% of the Sun covered by the Moon in southern NV.
Viewing conditions will continue to improve as we move east into Utah. Skies will be mostly clear in western UT, with a mix of sun and clouds in the center of the state, then clearing again as you go into the Canyonlands and southern UT. The 4-corners region looks to be another good place to go with mostly clear skies.
The eclipse will begin in UT after 9:00 am MDT and end around 12:00 pm MDT (Ring of Fire Maximum at 10:30 am MDT).
Nearby areas in Arizona will also be clear, but as you go north into northern UT and Wyoming, clouds will thicken. Eastern Colorado should have clearer skies with clouds increasing toward the center of the Rockies if you want to view 75-85% of the Sun covered by the Moon.
Clouds look to increase as the eclipse moves into New Mexico. The 4-corners region will be mostly clear but the clouds will increase for interior areas, then clear again toward the southeast of the state near Texas.
The eclipse will begin in NM after 9:00 am MDT and end after 12:30 pm MDT (Ring of Fire Maximum at 10:35 am MDT).
Nearby areas in southern NM and north into Colorado will be affected by clouds as well. Clouds will be decreasing throughout the eclipse with some sun poking through after 11 am MDT if you want to view less than 75-85% of the Sun covered by the Moon.
Below is a look at the Albuquerque, NM point forecast highlighting the cloud cover. Viewing will improve over the eclipse timeline in Albuquerque!
Finally in Texas, viewing conditions look to be the best throughout the US with mostly clear skies for a majority of the state. Clouds could be a factor near the Mexico border, where the Ring of Fire will be, but areas in the center of the state and to the north should stay mostly clear.
The eclipse will begin in TX after 10:15 am CDT and end around 1:30 pm CDT (Ring of Fire Maximum from 11:45 - 12 pm CDT).
Nearby areas in Mexico will see a mix of sun and clouds but areas to the north toward Oklahoma will be mostly clear if you want to view 75-85% of the Sun covered by the Moon.
Below is a loop of the eclipse set in MDT. You can access this webpage to see the exact time of the annular eclipse passage (partial and maximum) at your location here. An additional link to get up-to-date weather information from the National Weather Service is here.
This graphic is the Ring of Fire Maximum path from 10 am MDT until 11 am MDT.
How to View an Eclipse
While during an annular solar eclipse, the Moon will make it feel dark outside, looking at the Sun and Moon can cause eye injuries. The Sun is not completely covered, which means harmful radiation can damage your eyes.
Specialized eclipse glasses or homemade eclipse glasses can allow you to view an eclipse safely without any damage.
Happy eclipsing and make sure to get out there to view the sky even if there are clouds in the way. The next solar eclipse will be a total solar eclipse on April 8th, 2024.