Grand Teton National Park will host a solar eclipse viewing event on Sunday evening, May 20, beginning 6 p.m. at the Willow Flats Overlook north of Jackson Lake Junction. Bob Hoyle, a professional astronomer and park ranger naturalist, will conduct the event in partnership with the Jackson Hole Astronomy Club.
A partial solar eclipse will be visible in Jackson Hole with about 80 percent of the Sun's disk covered by the Moon at mid-eclipse. This should occur at approximately 7:30 p.m. when the Sun is low in the western sky. The eclipse will end as the Sun drops behind the jagged Teton Range. During an informal program, Ranger Hoyle will explain the circumstances necessary for an eclipse to occur and describe the current increase in solar flare activity on the Sun with the approach of sunspot maximum.
Several telescopes equipped with special solar filters will be available to safely watch this eclipse. With 80 percent of its disk covered, the Sun becomes somewhat dimmed and people may be tempted to look directly at it. This can be harmful and may lead to permanent damage to the eyes. Special hand-held filters will also be available to view the eclipse safely without a telescope. As a bonus, viewers have the chance to see some of the numerous sunspot groups currently visible on the Sun's surface.
This solar event is called an "annular" eclipse because the Moon is near apogee-the greatest distance from Earth-and does not completely cover the Sun. A visible ring of sunlight or "annulus" (Latin for ring) frames the Moon at mid-eclipse, prompting the name "annular" or ring eclipse. This solar eclipse will be most visible along a path that passes through several national parks in the southwest, through parts of Nevada, and off the southern Oregon coast. Reservations are not required for this event.
For more information, please contact the Colter Bay Visitor Center at 307.739.3590.
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