The Solar Eclipse And Ring of Fire

Welcoming the annual solar eclipse

Americans are preparing to celebrate the annual solar eclipse on Sunday the 20th of May. This is one of the rarest world events when the sun appears as only a thin ring behind the moon. There will be a visible path from northwestern Texas right through New Mexico. It will pass Southern Utah, California, Nevada and Oregon. The ‘special sun’ will be seen on the North Pacific, South China and Japan on the 21st of May.

Jeffrey Newmark from NASA says that this is a rare event which is not to be missed: “I recommend anyone who has the chance to see this; because while they do happen occasionally, it’s a fairly rare event…It’s a neat thing to see.” [1] The last time that it was seen in the USA was in 1994. Small crowds have flocked to Kanarraville in Utah to welcome the solar eclipse.

Earth and sun movements in focus

The tourism sector is benefitting from this level of interest. Bonnie Char from the Cedar City Tourism Bureau anticipates that the small cities will be flooded by visitors. Therefore local authorities are planning to provide some amenities including sanitation, policing and even food. The so called ‘ring of fire’ might turn out to be very profitable for the communities that experience it.

The Brian Head Resort has decided to open the ski lift to the general population so that they can see the solar eclipse from the mountain peak. They will have a vantage point of view that is 11,000 feet above sea level for a modest fee of $8. The economic boost will be welcomed by local communities who are bearing the brunt of a biting recession.

Viewing parties are going to be held at the Chabot Space and Science Center as well as the University of Nevada. Even the urban communities of California will get a chance to experience this rare phenomenon. The CapRock Winery in Texas has invited revelers to watch the eclipse outdoors. The South Plains Astronomy Club is hosting the event.

The Japanese vantage point

Even as USA enthusiasts camp in different locations to watch the solar eclipse, a Japanese satellite will be watching from the orbit. The Hinode spacecraft is set to cross the path of the solar eclipse at least 4 times. That means that clouds are not going to be a problem. Jonathan Cirtain of the Marshall Space Flight Center explains: “Given the low altitude of the orbit, if Earth is eclipsed, so is the spacecraft”. [2]

94% of the star’s light will be blocked by the moon from the perspective of watchers at specific earth points. The moon is very close to apogee, there will be no complete blackout. It is too small in the sky at the moment to create a total eclipse. Therefore enthusiasts have been warned not to look at the sun directly since it may cause damage to their eyes. This is a unique opportunity for the public to view a phenomenon that rarely occurs.


  1. M. Gray,” Weekend solar eclipse to project ‘ring of fire’”, 16th May 2013, CNN
  2. T. Malik,” Satellite to watch “ring of fire” solar Eclipse from space Sunday”, 18th May 2012, CBS News

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    Thomas Neal

    Thomas Neal was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He was a bookseller before shifting to publishing where he worked at a literary development company, a creative writing website for millennials, and as a book reviewer of adult and young adult novels. He lives in New York City and is obviously a voracious reader. He has just released his debut novel and working on his second already!

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