The Best Place to See the Fascinating Ring of Fire Eclipse is Just 4 Hours from Boise
Remember when parts of Idaho were in the path of totality for the total solar eclipse in 2017? People went bonkers for it!
We’re talking about paying astronomical rates for hotel rooms in Sun Valley, Donnelly and Weiser to be in the path of totality. Traffic backed up for hours while people parked along Idaho roads to watch it. A mad dash to find “eclipse glasses” to view the event. Closer to home and just a bit outside the path of totality, Bogus Basin and The Western Idaho Fair hosted watch parties with fun names like “99.6% Eclipsed” and “Total Eclipse of the Fair.” Crafters made bank off of eclipse-themed merch. Like nerds, we took our computer out to the parking lot and played “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on our radio station during the eclipse’s peak.
If you got super into the eclipse hype, then mark your calendars for Saturday, October 14! While Idaho will be just outside the path of “annularity,” we’re a short drive from being able to experience an equally cool “annular eclipse,” aka the Ring of Fire!
What’s the Difference Between a Total and Annular Eclipse?
NASA explains that during a total solar eclipse, the moon passes between the Sun and Earth and completely blocks out the sun. If you were in the path of totality back in 2017, you may remember that the sky looked a lot like it would at dawn or dusk. Just the sun’s outer atmosphere is visible. It looks something like this:
During an annular eclipse, the moon doesn’t completely block the sun because it’s at its furthest point from Earth. That means that you’ll see a bright orange-red ring shining behind the smaller moon disc. Its coloring is why people call it the “Ring of Fire.” It looks something like this:
One of the Best Places to See the Eclipse is About Four Hours from Boise
The path of annularity, which is about 135 miles wide, for the October eclipse cuts right through Idaho’s neighbors: Oregon, Nevada and Utah. The Farmer’s Almanac analyzed the duration of annularity to determine the best cities to watch from. According to their list, with about 4 minutes and 25 seconds beginning in the “ring phase,” Winnemucca, Nevada made their Top 10 list. That’s just over a four-hour drive from Boise. The phase starts at 9:20 a.m. Pacific Time.
The Great American Eclipse has a larger list of cities in the path of annularity on its website with some notable destinations on it. Including a lot of cities closer to the Oregon Coast! The ring may not be visible as long there, but since the eclipse happens on a Saturday, why not make a long weekend out of it? You can see that larger list HERE.
Author's Note: Viewing an annular solar eclipse requires eclipse glasses to protect your eyes. Do not look directly into one without them. If you still have yours from 2017, you can reuse them!