A few days ago we were treated with the first annular eclipse visible in the US since 1994. The annular solar eclipse path crossed parts of eight western states traversing a 200 mile wide arc from Oregon to Albuquerque, which included southwest Oregon, Northern California, central Nevada, southern Utah, northern Arizona and New Mexico. Outside of this, parts of the West, Midwest and South were treated to a partial solar eclipse. Unfortunately, our friends back on the East Coast missed out on the solar eclipse entirely since the sun set there before it began.Some picturesque wilderness areas in Southern Utah, including Natural Bridges, provided the best views of the rare 190-mile-wide path of the full ring of fire.
Over 300 visitors gathered at our park to view the eclipse, first visible at around 6:30 p.m and reaching it’s peak at 7:30 p.m. An eclipse of the sun occurs when the moon revolving in its orbit around the earth comes between the sun and the earth. The moon blocks the light of the sun and a shadow of the moon is cast over the earth’s surface. According to NASA, the moon was at the furthest distance from Earth that it ever achieves — meaning that it blocks the smallest possible portion of the sun, and left the largest possible bright ring around the outside.
While gazing through our special solar filters (lunar eclipses are safe to watch with the naked eye, solar eclipses are not) the dark moon’s diameter looked smaller than the visible disk of the sun, leaving a ring of fiery light around the black silhouette of the moon. The next annular eclipse visible in Utah won’t occur until 2023 and hopefully we will be back to see it in it’s glory!
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