Blog Post Jennifer Errick May 16, 2012

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

Making weekend plans? 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 swathe 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. The editors at National Parks Blog put together a handy list of the best parks to view the “ring of fire,” as well as a broader range of parks where visitors can see a partial eclipse. The National Park Service also has a handy map showing where the best views and partial views will occur.

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