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Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

Posted in: Education, Nature on May 21, 2012.

This spring, Southern Utah will experience a rare astronomical event – a complete solar eclipse. This type of eclipse won’t be seen again in Utah for nearly twelve years. In honor of this event, we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch have compiled a list of the best places to see the eclipse, and the best ways to enjoy it safely.

A solar eclipse is caused when the moon passes in front of the sun. The moon casts its shadow on the earth, temporarily blocking the sunlight.

Although you will be able to see the eclipse from most parts of Utah, the iconic “ring of fire” will be visible in only a handful of locations. The “ring of fire” refers to the moment when the moon is directly in front of the sun. Since the sun’s relative size is larger than the moon’s, a circle of sunlight will appear around the shape of the moon.

The best place to view the “ring of fire” is in Kanarraville, a little town about fifteen minutes south of Cedar City. Another place we’d recommend is Kolob Canyon. Kolob is an annexed part of Zion National Park. A quick drive up the canyon, and a short hike to the overlook, will give you amazing views.

Some other great locations are the visitor center at Fish Lake, in Fishlake National Forest, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park.

When viewing a solar eclipse, every precaution should be taken to avoid eye damage. The best way to see the eclipse is with a special set of solar sunglasses – regular sunglasses will not provide enough protection. Another acceptable method is to use binoculars to reflect the eclipse onto another surface (something like cardboard.)

The solar eclipse will begin before sunset, around six in the evening, on May 20, 2012.

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