Ring of fire
An annular “ring of fire” solar eclipse on May 20, 2012. NASA/Bill Dunford

An annular eclipse of the sun will be visible across the western states on Saturday morning, but unfortunately San Diego is too far away to see the vaunted “ring of fire.”

Those in the main eclipse track across Oregon, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas will have good views of the ring, but only the far northeast corner of California is near the path.

In San Diego, the eclipse will reach maximum moon coverage of about 70% between 9:25 and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Most importantly, don’t look up at the sun without protection. But if you have eclipse glasses you’ll see the moon taking a bite out of our home star. You can also project the image by pricking a small hole in a piece of cardboard and letting the sun shine on a piece of paper below. NASA has more safety tips.

It’s different from a full eclipse because the moon is at the farthest point in its orbit around the Earth and therefore appears slightly smaller than the sun, allowing light to shine around the edges. In a full eclipse, the moon just matches the apparent size of the sun, blocking almost all light.

The Fleet Science Center is hosting a free viewing party at the Bea Evenson Fountain in Balboa Park. The event begins at 8 a.m. and continues until 11 a.m., but the best time is from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m. You can purchase eclipse glasses in the museum store.

And if you’re stuck at home, NASA will live stream the eclipse.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.