A “Ring of Fire” – not Johnny Cash’s smash hit, but a once in an every-few-years solar eclipse — will reach peak visibility in Delaware on Saturday at about 1:20 p.m.
Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, causing the moon to cast a shadow on the earth.
This happens when there is a new moon as opposed to a full moon.
They don’t happen with every new moon simply because the earth’s orbit and the moon’s orbit are tilted relative to each other, so there needs to be a special alignment for this to happen.
The “Ring of Fire” effect is the result of the moon shadowing most of the sun, but the circular perimeter, or ring, is still visible and glowing.
This phenomenon only happens a couple times a year, and the last time it was viewable in Delaware was June 10, 2021.
“The Great American Eclipse was back in 2017, which passed over and was at least partially visible to the entire contiguous United States,” said Bennett Maruca, a University of Delaware physicist who specializes in heliophysics – physics related to the sun.
Saturday’s eclipse will be visible to a “significant portion of the county,” he said, but First Staters might be out of luck since the forecast calls for cloudy skies and potential rain.
Even so, Maruca said many observatories across the country will be livestreaming the eclipse, so a quick Google search should enable Delawareans to view the action from their screens.
The moon will take a couple of hours to pass by the sun.
To learn more about the eclipse’s projected track of trajectory, view NASA’s guide here.
“It’s kind of disconcerting to see it happen, since the sun is something we depend on so intimately for pretty much every aspect of our lives,” Maruca said. “To see it just blocked out temporarily is a little eerie.”
This kind of solar event has historically been of interest to mankind, he said.
“Those feelings are nothing new, we have recorded observations and some of the earliest writings we have about astronomy are recordings of eclipses,” Maruca said. “They’re recorded on tortoise shells in China and in Babylonian clay tablets and this definitely freaked people out.”
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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