Check Out the 'Ring of Fire' Eclipse

Today's annular eclipse — affectionally dubbed a "ring of fire" — will be the first of its kind visible from the mainland U.S. since 1994. And we won't get another until 2023.

In other words, you don't want to miss it. Sorry, New Yorkers, this is a mostly West Coast thing.

Due to the time zone change, the eclipse makes landfall again in North America in the late afternoon of May 20, starting at the California-Oregon border at 6:26 p.m. PT.

The annular eclipse then crosses southern Nevada, southern Utah, the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona, the lower-left corner of Colorado, and most of New Mexico before ending in the area of Lubbock, Texas, around sunset at 8:36 p.m. CT.

But you can watch it streaming online, if you're into that sort of thing. The entire event will last a little over four and a half minutes for viewers.

The reason this "ring of fire" eclipse looks so cool is that a ring of sunlight is visible around the black silhouette of moon. The effect is very eye of Sauron, which is a nerdy reference but completely appropriate when talking about astronomy.

Many viewers will not see the perfect eclipse as pictured in this file photo attached to this post, but they should stil be able to see a partial ring. Astronomer Anthony Cook predicts this event will be extra beautiful regardless, since we're nearing the maximum of the current solar cycle.

But be careful — eclipses are a great way to damage your vision by being an idiot.

To view the eclipse safely, astronomers recommend using either a professionally manufactured solar filter in front of a telescope or camera, or using eclipse viewing glasses that sufficiently reduce the sun's brightness and filter out damaging ultraviolet and infrared radiation.

I know that's not as exciting as just staring at it directly, but you need to take care of your eyes. Otherwise, how are you going to check out the 2023 "ring of fire" eclipse?

[Image via AP]