National Parks Offer Ideal Viewing of Solar Eclipse

Solar EclipseMark your calendars for May 20. That Sunday will be the first solar eclipse viewable on U.S. soil in 18 years. The best way to see the amazing spectacle is in a national park. The solar eclipse can be seen in more than 30 national parks. Six national parks are in the eclipse path for some of the best viewing: Redwood National Park and Lassen Volcanic National Park, both in California; Zion National Park in Utah, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona and Canyon De Chelly National Monument and Petroglyph National Monument, both in New Mexico. Many parks are planning special eclipse programs in the days leading up to the event. Park rangers and astronomers will also host special eclipse activities and events on the day.

Often called the “Ring of Fire,” an eclipse is an annual event where the sun and moon align on the earth’s orbit. The moon’s shadow falls on planet earth, essentially covering the sun from our vantage point on earth. Only a ring of sunlight is visible behind the dark circle of the moon. An eclipse is solar when it’s a new moon. The shadow of the eclipse is fast! It moves at about 1,000 mph, so don’t miss this thrilling event!

Remember: Wear protective eye gear when viewing the eclipse. Staring directly at the sun can damage your eyes. Pick up a pair of special eclipse sunglasses at the parks.

For more information, and to find an eclipse viewing loation near you, visit www.nature.nps.gov/features/eclipse/.

Photo: 1994 Eclipse by Jeff Olson, NPS