A (Busy) Weekend in Bryce Canyon National Park

It’s the end of May which means two things: (1) Dave is leaving for the field for three months and (2) it’s time for a “see you in three months” vacation for the two of us. This year we wanted to spend some quality time together in a National Park that Dave had not yet visited. Initial plans were to go to Yellowstone for a four day weekend but a cold front moved through and brought thunderstorms with it.  Plan B: head south.  We decided to put our Yellowstone trip on hold until the Fall and headed to Bryce Canyon National Park instead. Bonus to heading to Bryce was that they were having an astronomy festival centered about the eclipse on May 20th.  The park even planned to hand out free eclipse glasses so that you could watch the eclipse safely. Problem with Plan B:  thousands of people had the same idea….

Astronomy festival poster for Bryce Canyon National Park

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Best place to watch the solar eclipse on May 20th? Our National Parks!

On May 20th 2012, a full annular solar eclipse will be visible from the mainland United States.  The last time this occurred was during the 1990s; you shouldn’t miss out on this relatively rare astrological event.  The full solar eclipse can be seen in a diagonal swath from California to New Mexico, partial eclipses will be view-able on either side of this band until you hit west Texas.   Annular, which means “ring”, solar eclipses are when the moon passes directly in front of the sun causing the sun to appear as a ring around the moon. A full annular eclipse resemble a bulls eye. Where will be some of the best places in the United State to view the annular eclipse?  Why, the National Parks of course!

Annular Solar Eclipse in Central Africa 2010 (used under creative commons license – photo taken by Tino Kreutzer)

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