Solar eclipses 2023: When, where & how to see them

With our solar eclipses 2023 guide you'll be able to plan your next sun-viewing venture and perhaps even catch an image like this. Here a series of "snapshots" shows the sun becoming increasingly obscured by the moon until the ring of fire forms around the moon during the annular solar eclipse.
The sequence of the 2019 annular solar eclipse. (Image credit: goh keng cheong via Getty Images)

Earth will experience two solar eclipses in 2023.

The first eclipse of 2023 will be a hybrid solar eclipse on April 20. This rare type of eclipse is a combination of an annular eclipse and a total solar eclipse. "During the event, a "ring of fire" will be visible for a few seconds in the Indian and Pacific oceans, with totality in Exmouth, Western Australia (up to 1 minute), Timor Leste (1 minute 14 seconds) and West Papua (1 minute 9 seconds)." Jamie Carter, science journalist, author and solar eclipse expert told Space.com.

The second eclipse of 2023 will be an annular solar eclipse on Oct. 14. The dazzling "ring of fire" will be visible to observers in North, Central and South America. 

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon is positioned between Earth and the sun and casts a shadow over Earth. They can only occur during the phase of the new moon and make for an interesting skywatching target. 

Related: Lunar eclipses 2022: When, where & how to see them

profile picture Daisy Dobrijevic
Daisy Dobrijevic

Daisy joined Space.com in Feb. 2022. Before that, she worked as a staff writer for our sister publication All About Space magazine. Daisy has written numerous articles and guides for notable skywatching events including the Perseid meteor shower and the next solar eclipse.

Types of solar eclipse

There are four types of solar eclipses depending on how the sun, moon and Earth are aligned at the time of the event. A solar eclipse always occurs about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse.  

  1. Total solar eclipse: The sun is fully obscured by the moon. 
  2. Partial solar eclipse: The moon doesn't fully block the sun so only a portion of the sun is obscured. Here the moon appears to take a "bite" out of the sun.
  3. Annular solar eclipse: The moon is centered in front of the sun but doesn't cover the entirety of the surface (as seen in a total solar eclipse). A "ring of fire" shines around the moon. 
  4. Hybrid solar eclipse: The rarest solar eclipse is a combination of a total and annular eclipse (sometimes known as an A-T eclipse) and is produced when the moon's shadow moves across Earth. These begin as one type of eclipse and transition to another. 

According to the educational website SpaceEdge Academy (opens in new tab), 28% of solar eclipses are total, 35% are partial, 32% are annular and only 5% are hybrid.  

April 20: Hybrid solar eclipse

Gif demonstrating the path of the solar eclipse across Earth.

The hybrid eclipse will be visible across parts of SE Asia and Australia. (Image credit: NASA)

A rare hybrid eclipse will occur on April 20, 2023, and will be visible to observers across SE Asia and Australia. A hybrid eclipse will either look like an annular solar eclipse or a total solar eclipse depending on where the observer is located. 

This combination is caused by the curvature of the Earth causing some parts of the eclipse path to move into the moon's umbra — the darkest part of the shadow — resulting in a total solar eclipse, while other areas remain outside the umbra's reach, resulting in an annular solar eclipse, according to timeanddate (opens in new tab)

During the hybrid solar eclipse, an annular "ring of fire" eclipse will be visible for just a few seconds in the Indian and Pacific oceans and isn't visible anywhere on land. A total eclipse will only be visible in three locations on land, Exmouth, Western Australia, Timor Leste and West Papua. 

If you want to see the path of the eclipse, along with the eclipse timings for each location, check out this eclipse map by Xavier Jubier (opens in new tab).

Remember, NEVER look at the sun without adequate protection. Our how to observe the sun safely guide tells you everything you need to know about safe solar observations. The guide also informs you on what solar targets you can look out for and the equipment needed to do so. 

October 14: Annular solar eclipse

gif animation showing the path of the annular eclipse.

The annular solar eclipse will cross North, Central and South America. (Image credit: NASA)

An annular solar eclipse will cross North, Central and South America on October 14, 2023. It will begin at 

To be able to see all the phases of the annular eclipse including the infamous "ring of fire" you must be located somewhere along the path of annularity. 

The annular eclipse will begin in the U.S. and travel from the coast of Oregon to the Texas Gulf coast, passing over Nevada, Utah, New Mexico as well as some parts of California, Idaho, Colorado and Arizona, according to NASA (opens in new tab). It will then continue on to Central America, passing over Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Panama. South America will also experience the annular eclipse as it passes over Colombia before ending off the coast of Natal, Brazil. 

To see the exact path of annularity check out this interactive map (opens in new tab) created by Xavier Jubier. 

An annular eclipse occurs when the moon appears between the sun and Earth at its farthest point from the Earth — known as apogee. As the moon is farther away it appears smaller and does not completely cover the sun, it doesn't produce a total eclipse. Instead, a thin sun band is visible around the moon, creating the infamous "ring of fire" effect in the sky. 

For observers located close to, but not in the direct path of annularity, a partial eclipse will be visible. From Alaska to Argentina, skywatchers will see the moon partly obstruct the sun's disk. 

If you want to see where the partial and annular eclipse will be visible and if you will be able to see it, timeanddate (opens in new tab) have an interactive eclipse map detailing the visibility of the eclipse as well as the specific eclipse times for a given location. 

Remember, NEVER look at the sun without adequate protection. Our how to observe the sun safely guide tells you everything you need to know about safe solar observations. The guide also informs you on what solar targets you can look out for and the equipment needed to do so. 

Future solar eclipses

The next total solar eclipse will occur on Apr. 8, 2024, and has been dubbed "The Great North American Eclipse" as it will be visible throughout North and Central America. It will start in Mexico, cross into Texas then heads northeast into the Ohio River Valley, upstate New York, Quebec, Canada and New England, finally exiting the continent through the Canadian Maritimes. 

The maximum duration of totality will last as long as 4 minutes and 26 seconds (over southwest Texas). That's 135 seconds longer than the US average and 40 percent longer than the maximum duration of the 2017 eclipse

The "Great North American Eclipse" isn't the only solar eclipse to look forward to, here is a list of upcoming solar eclipses (opens in new tab) according to NASA.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Future solar eclipses
YearDateType of solar eclipseVisible locations
2023Apr. 20Hybrid SE Asia, E. Indies, Australia, Philippines. New Zealand. Hybrid: Indonesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea
2023Oct. 14AnnularN America, C. America, S. America
2024Apr. 8TotalN. America and C. America
2024Oct. 02AnnularPacific, S. America
2025Mar. 29PartialNW Africa, Europe, N Russia
2025Sept. 21PartialS. Pacific, New Zealand, Antarctica
2026Feb. 17AnnularS. Argentina, Chile, S. Africa, Antarctica
2026Aug. 12TotalN. America, W. Africa, Europe

How to view the sun safely

NEVER look at the sun with binoculars, a telescope or your unaided eye without special protection. Astrophotographers and astronomers use special filters to safely observe the sun during solar eclipses or other sun phenomena. Here's our guide on how to observe the sun safely

To safely observe the sun or watch an eclipse, you need special protective eyewear or eclipse glasses. Basic sunglasses, even those with UV protection, will not sufficiently protect your eyes. If you're planning to document the eclipse with any photo equipment, there are special solar filters you can add to make sure the remaining ring of sunlight doesn't take a toll on your vision. 

The safest way to observe an eclipse is indirectly by using a pinhole camera that you can make easily at home. 

If you must document one of these events, a simple, wide-angle snap should capture the moment, even if you're using your smartphone camera. 

Editor's Note: If you snap an amazing solar eclipse photo and would like to share it with Space.com's readers, send your photo(s), comments, and your name and location to spacephotos@space.com (opens in new tab).

Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) and on Facebook (opens in new tab)

Additional resources

Want to look further ahead? You can find a concise summary of solar eclipses through to 2030 on NASA’s eclipse website (opens in new tab). Read more about solar and lunar eclipses on Eclipse Wise (opens in new tab) — a website dedicated to predictions of eclipses. Learn about eclipses on other planets with this short article from Cornell University’s astronomy department (opens in new tab).  

Bibliography

April 20 hybrid eclipse. Timeanddate. Retrieved October 27 from https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2023-april-20

October 14 annular eclipse. Timeanddate. Retrieved October 27 from https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2023-october-14

October 14 annular eclipse. NASA. Retrieved October 27 from https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/eclipses/2023/oct-14-annular/overview/

Fred Espenak. Solar eclipses 2021-2030. NASA. Retrieved October 27 from https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEdecade/SEdecade2021.html 

Konstantin Bikos. What is a hybrid solar eclipse? Timeanddate. Retrieved October 27 from https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/hybrid-solar-eclipse.html

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Daisy Dobrijevic
Reference Writer

Daisy Dobrijevic joined Space.com in February 2022 as a reference writer having previously worked for our sister publication All About Space magazine as a staff writer. Before joining us, Daisy completed an editorial internship with the BBC Sky at Night Magazine and worked at the National Space Centre in Leicester, U.K., where she enjoyed communicating space science to the public. In 2021, Daisy completed a PhD in plant physiology and also holds a Master's in Environmental Science, she is currently based in Nottingham, U.K.

  • rod
    "A solar eclipse occurs when the disk of the moon appears to cross in front of the disk of the sun. A total solar eclipse — like the one that crossed the U.S. on Aug. 21, 2017..."

    This was a great solar eclipse to observe. I really enjoyed using my telescope with white-light solar filer, 90-mm refractor to view the event. Solar eclipses measured in the 1880s showed the Moon is slowly receding from Earth and the Earth is slowing down too, thus the length of day is increasing. Charles Darwin's son, George Darwin noted this and developed the fission theory for the origin of the Moon.
    Reply