On Sunday, May 20, observers along a narrow line throughout the western United States will be able to see the Sun, the Moon, and Earth line up. Unfortunately, the Moon will be near its farthest point from Earth, so it won’t totally cover the Sun’s disk. At mideclipse, a ring of sunlight still will be visible. Because the Latin word for “ring” is annulus, we call this type of eclipse an annular eclipse. You can read all about this event in the Astronomy.com News section and in the May 2012 issue of Astronomy.
Astronomy’s other senior editor, Rich Talcott, is already leading the magazine’s official annular eclipse tour. So, about six months ago, I called a couple friends and asked them if they’d be interested in an informal get-together under the Moon’s shadow — uhhh, antumbra.
After the first few “you bet” replies, I called a couple more friends. Then several of them asked if they also could bring friends and relatives. “Sure,” I said, thinking, “This is turning into a real party.”
Anyway, it turns out that, because of our respective locations, my phone and Internet access probably will be better than Rich’s throughout eclipse weekend. So watch for my blogs (including images, I hope) and tweets before, after, and probably during, the event.