Annular eclipse over the Grand Canyon

Did you see it? There was an annular eclipse of the sun across the southwest today (20 May 2012). An annular eclipse occurs when the moon’s apparent diameter is just a bit smaller than that of the sun leaving a brilliant ring of fire.

The weather was magnificent with cloudless skies, warm temperatures, and light winds. The first two are common around here in the spring; the latter — not so much.

Although the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park was not on the center line it was close enough. Radio announcements all weekend indicated that there would be telescopes and free viewing/safety glasses for the public at Grand Canyon NP as well as other parks in the area. It was sure to be crowded and by early afternoon the Park Service was closing roads to some of the most congested viewpoints.

I ended up at Navajo Viewpoint and it eventually filled with many visitors and eclipse viewers. Telescopes and cameras were all lined up near the edge (but not TOO near the edge) of the Grand Canyon. Then we waited — and were rewarded with a spectacular show.

Composite image of the annular eclipse seen over Grand Canyon National Park.
Composite image of the annular eclipse seen over Grand Canyon National Park.

This is a composite of images taken using a 50-mm lens between 1723 and 1929 MST at 3-minute intervals. The background image was taken a few minutes after sunset and shows some of the smoke near the horizon from the many wildfires burning in the southwest.

The setting sun -- stil in partial eclipse -- as it dips behind the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
The setting sun — still in partial eclipse — as it dips behind the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

 

The middle image (600 mm focal length) captures the setting sun as it dips behind a tree-topped mesa on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Cameras and telescopes line the edge of the South Rim of Grand Canyon awaiting the annular eclipse.
Cameras and telescopes line the edge of the South Rim of Grand Canyon awaiting the annular eclipse.

The bottom image shows some of the cameras and telescopes lined up along the edge of the canyon.

Next: transit of Venus across the face of the sun on 05 June 2012.

Edit: fixed typos.

2 Comments

Comments are closed.