This coming Sunday, May 20th, Grand Canyon is going to get a visit from a team of NASA scientists. No, they aren’t coming to see the magnificent geologic marvel that is the canyon–or at least that won’t be their primary goal! They are going to join the crowds to watch the solar eclipse that will be occurring in the pre-sunset hours! Known as the “Annular Eclipse”, the moon will block roughly 94 percent of the sun’s light, creating a spectacular “ring of fire.”
Officials from NASA’s Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA, are conducting FREE public programs at the Grand Canyon Village Visitor Center during the event, including safe telescope viewing of the eclipse as it happens.
If you can’t make it to the Grand Canyon, there are other excellent locations for viewing the Annular Solar Eclipse. If you are within the 200 mile wide “path of annularity” stretching from Lubbock, Texas to Medford, Oregon, check around for observatories, museums, star parties or other organizations that may provide opportunities for viewing the eclipse safely. More information for the path the annularity can be found here.
Approximate Timing of the eclipse (local MST):
5:28 p.m. – partial eclipse begins
6:34 p.m. – annular eclipse begins
6:39 p.m. – annular eclipse ends
7:32 p.m. – sun sets while still partially eclipsed
Prior to the Eclipse (South Rim):
At the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, NASA scientists will offer short special programs periodically throughout the morning and afternoon. They will also offer 3 longer presentations about eclipses and recent discoveries about the moon and sun. Check posted signs for times. Seating is limited. For the longer presentation, free tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8 a.m. on May 20 at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.
During the eclipse: ·
North Rim: Check posted signs for locations of ranger-assisted viewing of the eclipse. Rangers may project images of the sun, and will have a limited number of “eclipse glasses” to share for direct viewing. ·
South Rim: Rangers, amateur astronomers and NASA scientists will collaborate to offer telescope views of the eclipsed sun, along with projected images and a limited number of “eclipse glasses” to share. The largest concentration of telescopes will be behind (west of) the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, but rangers and telescopes will also be located at Lipan Point, at the benches just west of the Desert View Watchtower, and on the deck of the Watchtower itself (brief looks only at the Watchtower as capacity is limited). Check posted signs for additional locations and information.