Eclipsing Mesa Verde
Contact: Betty Lieurance, 970-529-4608
On Sunday, May 20, 2012, join a Mesa Verde park ranger to witness an unusual annular eclipse of the sun. Mesa Verde is in the region where there should be good viewing the "ring of fire," weather permitting. The eclipse will occur as the moon crosses in front of the sun. The resulting shadow that falls upon the Earth will race across the Western US at over 1000 mph. A special public presentation will be offered at the Navajo Canyon overlook, on the Mesa Top Loop Road, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The appearance of the "ring of fire" will occur at approximately 7:30 p.m.
A solar scope will be available, and special viewing glasses will be provided. Everyone viewing this event MUST have appropriate eye protection. Looking directly at the sun without a proper solar filter can cause severe eye damage, including blindness; sunglasses do not provide sufficient protection.
The eclipse begins over the Pacific Ocean and, from south of the Aleutian Islands, travels to the California coast at Redwoods National Park. From there, traveling at 1,000 mph, the shadow of the eclipse races south and east over 30 national parks in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, and even into west Texas before sunset. To view a map of the solar eclipse path through the southwest United States, visit www.nature.nps.gov/features/eclipse/assets/docs/EclipseBulletin.pdf.
The last time an annular solar eclipse was seen in the contiguous U.S. was in 1994.
Did You Know?
The Ancestral Puebloans inhabited Mesa Verde for more than 700 years (550 A.D. to 1300 A.D.), but for the first six centuries, they primarily lived on the mesa tops. It was not until the final 75 to 100 years that they constructed and lived in the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is known.