Catch a Glimpse of the Celestial Fireworks: The Annular Solar Eclipse and Where to See it in Santa Barbara

Annular Eclipse (Photo: NASA)

Mark your calendars and prepare for a celestial spectacle that promises to enchant on October 14, 2023.

On this remarkable day, a rare annular solar eclipse will grace the skies, allowing lucky observers to witness an extraordinary dance between the sun and the moon. As the moon passes directly in front of the sun, an ethereal ring of fire will form, creating an awe-inspiring sight that draws both astronomy enthusiasts and curious onlookers.

Here’s everything you need to know about the annular solar eclipse and the best places to view it in Santa Barbara.

The annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon is at a farther point in its elliptical orbit around the Earth, causing it to appear slightly smaller than the sun. As a result, during the eclipse, the moon doesn’t completely cover the sun, leaving a glowing ring of light around its dark silhouette. This cosmic interplay produces a mesmerizing display that attracts those longing to witness the wonders of the universe.

According to NASA, the best possible place to view this event this year with 100% coverage will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico where you can see the full coverage.

From Santa Barbara we should be able to see about 70% coverage, which is still pretty fascinating to witness.

NASA predicts that in Santa Barbara the best time to view will be from 8:10 a.m. through 10:45 a.m. on October 14 to see the annular solar eclipse fully pass through.

Weather permitting, here are some of the best places in Santa Barbara to witness the annular solar eclipse:

  1. West Beach: Located near Stearns Wharf, West Beach offers a captivating shoreline setting to witness the annular eclipse. Find a spot on the beach, set up your eclipse glasses, and enjoy the extraordinary spectacle against the backdrop of the vast Pacific Ocean.
  2. Santa Barbara City College: Situated on the cliffs overlooking the ocean, the Santa Barbara City College campus provides an elevated vantage point to watch the celestial event. Find a spot on the campus grounds and soak in the panoramic view as the moon aligns with the sun to create the beautiful “ring of fire.”
  3. Douglas Family Preserve: For a more serene and natural experience, head to the Douglas Family Preserve. This coastal bluff park offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, creating a picturesque backdrop for observing the annular solar eclipse. Take a blanket, pack a picnic, and settle in for an unforgettable celestial display.
  4. Lizard’s Mouth: Nestled in the foothills of Santa Barbara, the unique rock formation known as “Lizard’s Mouth” offers a tranquil oasis to witness the annular eclipse.

Remember, safety is paramount when observing a solar eclipse. Never look directly at the sun without certified eclipse glasses or proper solar filters. Protect your eyes and enjoy the splendor.

While enjoying the annular solar eclipse, make the most of the experience by joining local events and activities dedicated to this extraordinary phenomenon.

Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit Hosts Eclipse Viewing Party

View the 70% partial solar eclipse this morning through safely filtered telescopes at the Camino Real Marketplace, in the plaza by the theater. The eclipse will take place between about 8:10 AM and 10:45 AM, with the Moon covering about 70% of the Sun.

Then, come to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History for planetarium shows about the eclipse, and see the night sky through telescopes at the monthly Public Star Party. Click here for more information


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  1. To be clear, Santa Barbara will not experience an annular eclipse, as will those on the geographic centerline to the east of us, from Oregon through Texas. Instead, we will see a 70% partial eclipse.

    If you’re not coming to an event with safely filtered telescopes or using eclipse-safe glasses, a safe way to view the eclipse is with pinhole projection. One amusing way of doing this is to use a colander to focus multiple pinhole images onto a flat surface.

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