If you live in the Western half of North America, be sure to watch the skies this weekend for an amazing sight! On Sunday, May 20, there will be an annular solar eclipse.
The path of annularity for this eclipse starts over eastern China and sweeps northeast across southern and central Japan. The path continues northeast, then east, passing just south of Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain. The path then turns to the southeast, making landfall in the western United States along the California-Oregon coast. It will pass over central Nevada, southern Utah, northern Arizona, the extreme southwest corner of Colorado, and most of New Mexico, before coming to an end over northern Texas.
Since the disk of the Moon will appear smaller than the disk of the Sun, it will create a “penny on nickel” effect, with a fiery ring of sunlight shining around the Moon’s dark silhouette. Locations that will witness this eerie sight include Eureka and Reading, California; Carson City, Reno and Ely, Nevada; Bryce Canyon in Utah; Arizona’s Grand Canyon; Albuquerque and Santa Fe in New Mexico; and, just prior to sunset, Lubbock, Texas. The point of greatest eclipse will occur over the Pacific Ocean to the south of the Aleutians.
A partial eclipse of the Sun will be visible over a large swath of the western U.S. and Canada, including Alaska and Hawaii. If you live within the visibility zone for this eclipse, the most important thing to keep in mind when viewing the Sun, including during the ring phase, is to never look directly at even a portion of the Sun without proper viewing glasses.
Partial Eclipse Begins: 4:56 p.m. – Annular Eclipse Begins: 6:06 p.m. – Greatest Eclipse: 7:53 p.m. – Annular Eclipse Ends: 9:39 p.m. – Partial Eclipse Ends: 10:49 p.m. – Maximum Duration of Annularity: 5m 46.4s