This Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, a solar eclipse will be visible across the United States. Solar eclipses occur when the Moon is between the Sun and the Earth. When this occurs, the moon casts a shadow onto the Earth.

The explanation of a solar eclipse.

There is a common misconception that solar eclipses are rare. Every year, there are at least two solar eclipses that are visible somewhere on Earth.

The more little known fact is that there are different types of solar eclipses. The solar eclipse that will be visible across the United States on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023 is known as an “annular” eclipse.

Picture of an annular eclipse courtesy of NASA.

This type of solar eclipse does not completely cover the Sun. Therefore, there is sunshine that goes around the shadow of the Moon resulting in a “ring of fire” like the image above. The area of totality for the annular solar eclipse will move through the western United States and into the Gulf of Mexico.

Eclipse path and coverage for the annular eclipse on Saturday, Oct. 14th, 2023.

The Valley will only see 30%-40% coverage of the sun, but it likely will not be visible due to rain expected over our area.

The second type of eclipse is a “total solar eclipse” which is the most well known type. The Moon completely covers the Sun during a total solar eclipse and the United States will be impacted by one of these on April 8, 2024. In fact, the path of totality will impact parts of the Valley.

Eclipse path and coverage of the 2024 total solar eclipse.

The image above shows that Youngstown will be just on the edge of totality in the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. There will be areas in Mahoning, Trumbull, and Mercer counties that experience totality. The area of totality will be in the Valley after 3:00 p.m.

Another type of eclipse is called a “partial eclipse” and this is exactly how it sounds. This occurs when only part of the Sun is blocked by the shadow of the Moon. The most rare type of eclipse is a called a “hybrid eclipse”. This occurs when the eclipse shifts between annular and solar due to the curvature of the Earth.

While the weather for the annular eclipse is not looking great, hopefully there will be sunshine for the total solar eclipse in 2024!