Albuquerque, NM (April 5, 2012) – Visitors to Albuquerque in late May are in for a treat. On May 20th, the first annular eclipse in 18 years will be visible from the United States. Albuquerque is said to be the best urban location to view this “ultimate astronomical event.” The type of eclipse is an annular eclipse, which occurs when the moon covers most of the sun's disk leaving a thin ring of light around the edge appearing as a “ring of fire.”
The eclipse begins over Asia and, traveling at more than 1,000 MPH, the shadow of the eclipse races to the southeast over parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico before sunset. Locally, viewers will be able to see the annular eclipse four about four minutes beginning just before sunset at 7:33pm in Albuquerque on the western horizon. Partial eclipse will be visible from approximately 6:30-8:00pm.
The Visit Albuquerque and several partner organizations are inviting astronomy buffs and interested star and sky enthusiasts to visit Albuquerque, New Mexico, for this rare viewing event. Plan now to enjoy the wonders of our solar system with viewing opportunities and local educational activities for the entire family.
Seven entities have established viewing and educational events during the week before and on May 20th led by astronomers, graduate students and museum educators.
- Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum (viewing and education)
- New Mexico Museum of Nuclear Science & History (viewing and education)
- University of New Mexico Observatory (viewing and education)
- New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (educational events only)
- Hard Rock Pavilion at Mesa del Sol (viewing only)
- Sandia Peak Tramway (viewing only)
Each of the viewing locations above offers a direct site of the horizon for optimal viewing of the eclipse. Petroglyph National Monument is offering a viewing event that has been so popular it is already sold out.
Safety will be of utmost importance while viewing the eclipse. People should NOT look directly at the sun as it could cause eye damage. Solar viewing glasses or special pinhole cameras are needed to view the annular eclipse and will be available at the above event locations.
Transit of Venus
Another solar event will take place just two weeks later on Tuesday, June 5th called a Transit of Venus; where the planet Venus visibly and slowly moves across the disk of the sun. This will not happen again until 2117. If you miss this, you will never see it again in your lifetime, and it will also be viewed perfectly from Albuquerque.
Details on both events are available at www.ItsATrip.org/ABQSolarEvents.
Image/graphics are available upon request.