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Adventure Company witness USA Annular Eclipse

On 20 May The Adventure Company and Astronomy Tours team witnessed the annular eclipse in Bryce Canyon. Bryce Point on the Canyon’s rim proved a wonderful natural setting for the event with incomparable views of colourful sandstone pinnacles illuminated by the later afternoon Sun.

David Phillips, Astronomy Tours in-house astronomy expert and tour leader, describes this phenomenal event, '

'The annular eclipse started in the late afternoon with a Sun appearing as if it had a chunk taken out of its bottom edge.

Over a period of an hour the moon moved across the disc of the Sun until mid eclipse when the Sun appeared as a ‘ring of fire’ as the moon blocked out all except a ring of light around the edge of the Sun. At this time the Sun was just 10° above the horizon and the reduced light illuminated the canyon intensifying and deepening the colours of the sandstone columns called hoodoos.  

Half an hour or so later the sun sank behind the pine trees of the canyon’s rim with the moon still eclipsing part of a disc.'

In addition, Salt Lake Astronomical Society were celebrating their 12th Annual Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival. Eclipse viewers were rewarded with lectures from noted speakers and were able to enjoy some hands-on astronomy under tremendously dark skies. The Salt Lake Astronomers had set up around 50 telescopes near the Visitor’s Centre, providing a clarity with which we could view many galaxies, clusters and nebulae. David said, 'The views were simply breathtaking.'

For a full report on the trip and event, visit the Explorers Astronomy Tours website.