Johnny Cash claims to have fallen into a burning ring of fire. The National Park Service, NASA scientists, and amateur astronomers think it's way more fun to just look at one. And they want you to join them.
Late afternoon on May 20 marks the annual solar eclipse, and in honor of the occasion, these groups will team up to share their knowledge and their telescopes for a great viewing opportunity.
Before the eclipse, head to a free program led by NASA scientists about cutting edge research on the sun and the moon. See signs for timing details, and pick up a free voucher for the event at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center starting at 8 a.m. May 20.
During the eclipse, NASA scientists and amateur astronomers will set up telescopes on the South Rim to let the layman take a gander. The largest collection of telescopes will be set up behind the South Rim Visitor Center. You can also head to Lipan Point, the benches west of the Desert View Watchtower or to the Watchtower deck, where other telescope groupings will be stationed.
Then stick around after the spectacle for the South Rim Star Party. Astronomers will leave their telescopes up for the public to check out the stunning night sky.
At least a partial eclipse will be seen by the westernmost two-thirds of the U.S., but viewers at the Grand Canyon will be able to see the moon pass fully in front of the sun. Only a ring of lightâ€”or fire if you willâ€”will be visible.
Approximate timing of the eclipse:
5:28 p.m.-partial eclipse begins
6:34 p.m. - annular eclipse begins
6:39 p.m. - annular eclipse ends
7:32 p.m. - sun sets while still partially eclipsed