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2023 Annular Eclipse. In Capitol Reef!

2023 Annular Eclipse. In Capitol Reef!

Posted in: Lodge Announcements, Nature on September 26, 2023.

The Ring of Fire!

There is an annular eclipse heading right for Capitol Reef! On October 14, 2023 (which is only 17 days from now!) the path of the eclipse will pass over Southern Utah, directly over the national park. So if you want to catch this celestial event in person, here is some info on what to expect on this very special day!

A ring of light around the moon during an eclipse

Photo by Mark Basarab via unsplash.com

What is an Annular Eclipse?

A solar eclipse is when the moon temporarily blocks the sun’s light, casting a shadow on the earth. A total eclipse is when the sun in completely obscured. But since the distance from the moon to the earth varies as it makes it’s orbit, an annular eclipse occurs when the moon is a little too far away to totally block out the entire sun. A little “Ring of Fire” is then visible around the moon. Sounds cool, huh? It’s even cooler in person!

Is Capitol Reef Doing Anything To Celebrate the Eclipse?

Big time! There are ranger-led astronomy programs everyday from October 9 to the 13 to get everyone excited. There will be solars cope viewing available at the visitor center, so you can safely look at the sun, even before the eclipse happens. Also, there is a marathon happening during the eclipse! So watch out for that! All of the details can be found on this page here.

But during the big event, when the eclipse is happening, the park rangers will be focused on maintaining and directing the crowds of visitors. To that end, the visitor center will be closed from 9:30am to 11am.

Eclipse viewing glasses make the sun safe to observe

Photo by Jason Howell via unsplash.com

Can I Stare At The Ring Of Fire With My Naked Eyes?

We feel that you already know the answer to this one: NO. There is still enough light being emitted from the Ring of Fire to cause permanent damage to your eyeballs. You will need eclipse-viewing glasses. Which are sold for cheap at plenty of online retailers. So don’t risk it! The National Park Service has a whole page dedicated on how to view eclipses safety. Check that out here.

What Time Does it Happen?

This is the timetable of events on the morning of October 14. Everything is in local time, which is Mountain Daylight Time, or UTC–6, if you’re coming in from out-of-town.

9:10am – Partial solar eclipse begins
10:27am – Annularity begins.
10:32am – Annularity ends. Partial solar eclipse resumes.
11:57am – Partial solar eclipse ends

Another view of the ring of fire

Photo by Jongsun Lee via unsplash.com

What Else Should I Know?

This annular eclipse is projected to bring big, big crowds to Capitol Reef and the surrounding areas. So make your accommodation plans now, otherwise you’ll be out of luck. You can reserve some campgrounds on recreation.gov, but some of the primitive ones are first-come first-serve.

It’s also important to remember that rural communities – like those near the park – don’t always have the logistical capacity to service thousands of people. Which means that some of the grocery stores nearby might become pretty low on stock. So it is advisable to bring most of your own food with you. It’s no good being hungry while watching the wondrous motions of the heavens!

That about covers it! Bring your eclipse-viewing glasses, plenty of food, and be in Capitol Reef by 9:10am to see the big show! You can find more info about the 2023 Annular Eclipse here at timeanddate.com and at NASA.

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