• View of Square Tower House, seen along the Mesa Top Loop

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

Eclipsing Mesa Verde

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Date: May 15, 2012
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.


-NPS-

Did You Know?

Cliff Palace in the snow

Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park. It has 150 rooms, plus an additional 75 open areas. Twenty-one of the rooms are kivas, and 25 to 30 rooms have residential features. The number of Ancestral Puebloans living in Cliff Palace at any one time was 100 to 120.