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Grand Canyon preps for eclipse party

April 27, 2012|By Chris Erskine | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • File photo of a partial annular eclipse. When such an eclipse is complete, the moon covers the center of the sun and leaves a blazing ring.
File photo of a partial annular eclipse. When such an eclipse is complete,… (Associated Press )

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the more interesting venues being touted as a view spot for the annular eclipse of the sun May 20.

Ranger-assisted opportunities to view the eclipse will be provided on both rims. On the South Rim, NASA scientists and amateur astronomers will share their telescopes for views of the eclipse and of the night sky afterward. The Park Service says the largest concentration of telescopes will be behind the Grand Canyon Visitor Center on the South Rim, but telescopes will also be at Lipan Point, at the benches just west of the Desert View Watchtower and on the deck of the Watchtower itself.

For safe viewing, consider buying eclipse glasses in advance. Solar viewing cards will also be sold for $1 in all park bookstores while supplies last. Viewing the eclipse with the naked eye, or through a camera viewfinder, is extremely dangerous.

Though the western two-thirds of the United States will see at least a partial eclipse prior to sunset, rangers say Grand Canyon National Park will see the moon pass fully in front of the sun, leaving only a ring --or “annula” -- of sun visible around it. This annula is the difference between an annular eclipse and a total eclipse.

The eclipse begins at 5:28 p.m. Arizona time.

For more information about viewing the eclipse at Grand Canyon National Park, click here.

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