A Burning “Ring of Fire”


A “Ring of Fire” will be visible in the skies this Sunday, May 20 during a rare annular eclipse.

The eclipse will be visible to most of North America but the best views will be from northern California, central Nevada, southern Utah, northern Arizona, central New Mexico and northwest Texas.

The last time an annular eclipse was visible in the US was in 1994 and will not occur again until 2023, according to a news release.

An annular eclipse occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun, creating an effect that makes the sun look as if it were a bright ring with a dark center.

While it may be tempting to look directly at the sun during the eclipse, it is harmful to the eyes. For this reason, special sun-safe viewing glasses are needed. Regular sunglasses will not protect the eyes from harmful rays.

The BYU Astronomical Society will assist those wanting to watch the big event by distributing these special glasses at the Astrofest astronomy festival in the Eyring Science Center this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

As the president of the BYU Astronomical Society, Thayne McCombs, suggested two things to get ready for the rare eclipse.

“Get a hold of solar glasses so you can look at the sun and, if possible, go south,” McCombs said.

For those in Utah, the prime viewing locations are around Cedar City, Newcastle, Bryce Canyon National Park and St. George, with the best spot in Kanarraville.

If watching from a path of annularity, viewers will start to see the moon move into position around 6:22 p.m. and will see the ring from 7:31 to 7:36 p.m. The sunset will occur directly after.

Many of the national parks in southern Utah will celebrate the eclipse during the weekend. Cedar City will even host a “Solar Eclipse Extravaganza” on Saturday, May 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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