Rural Utah Hosting Once-In-A-Lifetime Eclipse Events
In its monthly newsletter, the town of Brian Head has suggested nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument as a good place to observe the up-coming annular eclipse. Although no formal eclipse-related events are organized at Cedar Breaks or Brian Head, other venues throughout Utah have organized events, inviting people to enjoy the unique opportunity in rural Utah.
The eclipse will occur on Saturday October 14. Capital Reef National Park, has published a timeline for those interested in viewing the short, roughly 4-minute spectacle:
9:10am MDT: Partial solar eclipse begins
10:27am MDT: Annularity begins.
10:32am MDT: Annularity ends. Partial solar eclipse resumes.
11:57am MDT: Partial solar eclipse ends
Optimal viewing for the solar annular eclipse will take place in a roughly 100-mile wide band that will follow a path running diagonally across the western United States from around Coos Bay, Oregon, and continuing in a southeasterly direction through Corpus Christi, Texas.
In Utah, imagine a band created by drawing a straight line running through Parowan to Lake Powell, and another, to the north, passing through Scipio and Monticello. Every place in between is in the optimal viewing area. What is meant by "optimal?" Here is an explanation.
But first, how is an annular eclipse different than a total eclipse? While both involve the moon positioned in between the earth and the sun--placing a portion of the earth in a shadow, the difference is based on the moon's elliptical orbit around the earth--thereby varying in its distance from the earth, throughout the year.
According to NASA, in a total eclipse, the moon is just at the right distance so as to completely cover the sun, while in a annular eclipse the moon is at a distance so as to not quite obscure the sun completely, leaving a "ring of fire" when viewed from an optimal position on the earth.
In addition to Capitol Reef National Park, other Utah locations have organized viewing events planned:
Snow College-Richfield Campus is encouraging people to take part in its activities. The Snow College website has complete information.
Piute County, the second least-populated county in Utah is also rolling out the welcome mat. Positioned right in the middle of the 100 mile wide optimal viewing band, the town of Marysvale is hosting three days of eclipse activities to take advantage of a rare focus of attention. A website 2023solareclipse.com offers a list of events and nearby attractions.
The town of Hanskville is hosting two days of events (Friday and Saturday) including a 5k race, music and vendors. Visit the Hanksville town webpage for more information.
In 2024, a total eclipse will be viewable in large portions of North America. The optimal band for viewing stretches from Mexico, through south Texas, running diagonally to the northeast through Cleveland, Ohio and on to Maine and New Brunswick.
In fact, an area of south Texas is in the optimal path for both the 2023 annular eclipse and the 2024 total eclipse.