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‘Ring of fire' solar eclipse is this weekend, but how much can be seen in Chicago?

The majority of the U.S., including Chicago, will likely experience a partial solar eclipse.

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A "ring of fire" solar eclipse is happening this weekend, and while only those in a narrow path will see the annular event, how much will be visible in the Chicago area?

Your view of the eclipse will depending heavily on where you are.

Here's what to expect:

What is an annular solar eclipse and how does it compare to a partial solar eclipse?

"A solar eclipse occurs when the Sun, the Moon, and Earth line up, and the Moon (which is between the Sun and Earth) temporarily blocks the Sun’s light," according to Chicago's Adler Planetarium. "The kind of eclipse you see from your location depends on the Moon’s orbital path across Earth’s surface and how far away the Moon is from Earth and from the Sun."

There are three types of solar eclipses, including a partial, total and annular.

As defined by NASA, a partial eclipse takes place when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, but the sun, moon and Earth aren't perfectly lined up.

On the contrary, an annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth while it is at its farthest point from Earth.

A total eclipse, however, is when the moon completely covers the sun.

What will you see?

According to Chicago's Adler Planetarium, "if skies are clear, the Chicago area will experience a partial solar eclipse on October 14."

"The solar eclipse on October 14 is actually an annular solar eclipse. During an annular eclipse, viewers in a very narrow path across Earth can see the Moon’s dark silhouette inside of the Sun’s disk. It looks like a black hole surrounded by a ring of bright light," the planetarium's website reads. "However, Chicagoland and most of North America are not in that narrow annular eclipse path, but they are close enough to it to be able to view a partial solar eclipse. This means that the Moon’s silhouette will only partially cover the sun, which creates the illusion that a bite has been taken out of the Sun’s disk."

That means in the Chicago area, the sun will appear "bitten," almost in half.

Meanwhile, the full annular eclipse will travel through parts of Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, creating a "ring of fire" effect in the sky, according to NASA.

Here's a look at what Adler says Illinoisans will see:

When can you see it?

According to the planetarium's Solar Eclipse viewing chart, the eclipse is slated to begin at around 10:37 a.m. CT, with the moon's shadow increasing as it moves across the sun. At 10:58 a.m., just over an hour later, the eclipse will reach its maximum point. The eclipse will come to an end that afternoon at around 1:22 p.m., when the moon will no longer cover any part of the Sun.

How can you see it?

If you're planning to catch a view of the eclipse, it's crucial to prepare ahead of time and get proper eye protection. You'll want to purchase safe solar glasses, which might appear like regular sunglasses at first glance, but are actually thousands of times darker.

Those who don't have proper eye protection risk sustaining permanent eye damage, which can happen in a matter of seconds. While wearing your eclipse glasses, make sure not to look at the sun through a camera lens, telescope, binoculars or any other optical device. The concentrated solar rays can burn through the filter and cause a serious eye injury.

If you'd rather stay indoors when the eclipse occurs, Adler is offering its own viewing experience. The planetarium will be going live on YouTube to show the partial solar eclipse from Chicago, weather permitting.

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