CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — On Saturday, parts of the Southwestern United States will be treated to a rare solar phenomenon, an Annular Eclipse.

An Annular Eclipse occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun, but because of the fact that the moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle but rather an ellipse it does not fully cover the sun’s surface.

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This causes the awe-inspiring “Ring of Fire” around the moon for those in the path of the peak eclipse. For us in the Central Carolinas, we will not experience an Annular Eclipse, but a partial Solar Eclipse instead.

These are still rare celestial events, with the last one happening during the Solar Eclipse that went across the Continental U.S. back in August of 2017.

The partial eclipse will begin around 11:50 a.m. Saturday with the maximum level of eclipse occurring just after 1:15 p.m. in the afternoon, and the eclipse at 2:45 p.m. The forecast will obviously be crucial for anyone in the region who wants to try to get a good look at the eclipse.

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Queen City News is tracking a cold front for Saturday and showers in the morning could help to keep the clouds around through the eclipse.

The best viewing conditions are likely to be in the foothills and mountains.