Blog Post Jennifer Errick May 16, 2012

View a 'Ring of Fire' from National Parks This Sunday

Annular eclipse to brighten night-sky viewing in the West this weekend

National park visitors in the Southwest and parts of California are in for a treat this Sunday, May 20: the first annular solar eclipse visible from North America since 1994.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the sun and the earth, creating a shadow that blocks the sun’s light. In an annular eclipse, the rays of the sun are not completely obscured, creating a dramatic ring of light around the moon’s shadow.

This cosmic alignment will take place from about 5:30 p.m. to about 7:30 p.m. on Sunday with varying levels of visibility through a broad swath of the western and midwestern United States.

National parks are perfect places to view the eclipse, because reduced light pollution dramatically improves night-sky viewing. A number of national parks have special events planned for the eclipse, including Glen Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Joshua Tree, among others. 

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