Astronomy Magazine Eclipse Tour 2017 Day 3

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, August 18, 2017

The natural beauty of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona, August 16, 2017.

The third day of our Astronomy Magazine Eclipse Tour 2017 commenced with waking up on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Within the National Park, we had breakfast and watched the Sun rise over the canyon, before walking out along the rim and photographing the splendor we could see everywhere. Our group, one of several touring with the magazine and TravelQuest tours, consisted of 89 people on three buses, moving steadily northward toward eclipse day in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 

The Grand Canyon is indeed a “big hole,” as people say. But it is incredibly beautiful and inspiring to see, and we thought about the ages of things quite a lot here. The lowest levels of the Canyon date to almost 2 billion years, some 1/7th of the age of the entire universe. Overall, Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and our Sun and solar system 4.6 billion years old. Our star was born in a cluster of suns that has been torn apart by the galactic tide, gravitational forces acting on us as we orbit the center of the Milky Way. The galaxy itself is some 8 to 9 billion years old and is comprised of many smaller galaxies that came together, just as in the future, the Andromeda Galaxy will merge with us, some 4 to 5 billion years from now. And the universe itself, of course, is 13.8 billion years old. 

Leaving the Grand Canyon, we went to a park that many of us on the tour had not seen before, Zion National Park in southern Utah. It was a fantastic experience exploring Zion, hiking for the afternoon in the hot Sun and taking a long tram ride deep into the canyon to explore areas that display the red sandstone and meandering creeks and rivers in pristine scenes of nature. 

What a way to get read for nature’s biggest spectacle, this coming Monday. 

Natural beauty of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona, August 16, 2017.

Natural beauty of the North Rim, Grand Canyon, Arizona, August 16, 2017.

Natural beauty of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona, August 16, 2017.

Natural beauty of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona, August 16, 2017.

Natural beauty of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona, August 16, 2017.

Zion National Park, Utah, August 16, 2017.

Zion National Park, Utah, August 16, 2017.

Zion National Park, Utah, August 16, 2017.

Zion National Park, Utah, August 16, 2017.

Zion National Park, Utah, August 16, 2017.

Zion National Park, Utah, August 16, 2017.

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