Saturday, May 19, 2012

Solar Event: Albuquerque's Ring of Fire

Who knew that Albuquerque would be one of the most desirable places to watch a mesmerizing solar event? The annular solar eclipse will be a major viewer’s attraction in the Southwest in general, but Albuquerque is specifically located in the direct path of the event. This means the show here can’t be beat anywhere else.

In Albuquerque, the eclipse will begin at 6:28pm on May 20th and last until around 7:38pm. Check out this list of viewing locations being set up around Albuquerque. Do make sure you will have some safety glasses with you as watching the eclipse can damage your eyes without the proper eye protection. View for safety tips for viewing the solar eclipse. 

The eclipse occurrence in Albuquerque will be what is known as an annular eclipse. This means the moon does not entirely cover the sun and a ring of light is still viewable around the moon's outline. That is where the term "Ring of Fire" comes from.

An annular eclipse will occur about once every 1 or 2 years and are usually only viewable to a small area or location located in their “path.” That means not everyone can see every eclipse that occurs and an eclipse will not be viewable from the same point on Earth again for an average of 375 years.

If you want to experience more solar events in Albuquerque then don't miss the Transit of Venus at sunset on Tuesday June 5th. The Transit of Venus occurs when Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun and is seen as a small dot moving across the sun's surface. This solar event will not happen again until 2117, making this our last opportunity to see this phenomenon in our lifetime.

Further reading on solar events:

Totality : Eclipses of the Sun  by Mark Littmann and Ken Willcox, Fred Espenak
A Dictionary of Astronomy edited by Ian Ridpath

Astronomy : A Visual Guide by Mark A Garlick

The Community Science Connections LibGuide also has information about the upcoming solar event.

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