Utah's Sweet Spots for Seeing the Solar Eclipse

May 16, 2012

Utah is the place to be for this weekend's annular solar eclipse. While the moon casts its massive shadow over the U.S. for the first time in 18 years, Utah's dark skies and natural settings will be ideal for viewing the eclipse Sunday night, May 20, around sunset.

The National Parks Service will be holding events like ranger talks and "solar parties" in all affected areas, including Natural Bridges National Monument, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Canyonlands National Park. Click here for a summary of NPS eclipse events.

Kanarraville, in Iron County, is calling itself the "Sweet Spot" for observing the eclipse, determined with some help from NASA, a professional surveyor, and the local tourism board. And even though there aren't many amenities in the small town, there will be plenty of roadside parking and folks with telescopes to share. Click here for a map of Iron County viewing opportunities.

Kanarraville might be the astronomical center for eclipse viewing, but most of southern Utah will have spectacular views of the eclipse and many parts of the American West will see less perfect but still amazing coverage of the sun by the moon. Click here for NASA's map of eclipse viewing in the Western U.S.

Patrick Wiggins, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador to Utah, created this timeline, which is probably the most exact schedule of events in Utah that you'll find:

Start of partial eclipse:  6:16:53
Maximum eclipse:           7:27:45
End of partial eclipse:    8:31:16

Salt Lake City
Start of partial eclipse:  6:18:42
Maximum eclipse:           7:29:25
End of partial eclipse:    8:32:44

Kanosh (On north edge of annularity)
Start of partial eclipse:  6:21:05
Start of annular eclipse:  7:32:03
Maximum eclipse:           7:32:04
End of annular eclipse:    7:32:05
End of partial eclipse:    8:35:24

Cedar City
Start of partial eclipse:  6:22:21
Start of annular eclipse:  7:31:19
Maximum eclipse:           7:33:34
End of annular eclipse:    7:35:50
End of partial eclipse:    8:36:58

Kanarraville (Center of annularity)
Start of partial eclipse:  6:22:33
Start of annular eclipse:  7:31:31
Maximum eclipse:           7:33:48
End of annular eclipse:    7:36:04
End of partial eclipse:    8:37:12

St. George
Start of partial eclipse:  6:22:58
Start of annular eclipse:  7:32:15
Maximum eclipse:           7:34:22
End of annular eclipse:    7:36:29
End of partial eclipse:    8:37:50

Happy Viewing!