Astronomy Magazine Eclipse Tour 2017 Day 4

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, August 18, 2017

The reddish rocks at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, stun visitors, August 17, 2017.

Astronomy Magazine is operating multiple tours to see the total solar eclipse coming this Monday. I’m on the Northbound National Parks of the West tour, along with 88 others on three buses, making our way slowly northward to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where we’ll see totality. 

If it’s Thursday, this must be Bryce Canyon. We are in a whirlwind tour of parks, and have enjoyed them immensely — after seeing the spectacular sights of “America’s Observatory,” Lowell Observatory, we’ve traveled through the Grand Canyon, Zion, and now Bryce Canyon. What a wonderful way to see geography and geology of the American West. In contrast to Zion, which had large, magnificent, whitish rock formations, along with the requisite iron oxide rust colors, Bryce has many types of heavily eroded rocks, and stronger colors. The hoodoos, eroded pinnacle rock towers, are breathtaking. And the colors come from iron oxide, primarily — rust — but also from minerals like pyrolusite, limonite, and others. Our time exploring the trails of Bryce Canyon was enriching, and again we thought about the incredible timescales of the formation of these rocks, once underwater long ago, and subjected to immense and long erosion, and what the landscape must have been like millions of years ago. 

I heartily encourage you to go to Bryce Canyon at least once in your life. It’s like walking through a martian landscape — except for the abundant trees, of course. 

Following Bryce, we made tracks northward to the historic city of Salt Lake, famous as the home of the Mormons, the Church of he Latter Day Saints. A fine dinner in a restaurant operated by the church and overlooking the remarkable Salt Lake Temple, the Mormon Temple, closed out another big adventurous day. 

The beautiful, colorful rocks of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, August 17, 2017.

The beautiful, colorful rocks of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, August 17, 2017.

The beautiful, colorful rocks of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, August 17, 2017.

A friend hangs out at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, August 17, 2017.

The beautiful, colorful rocks of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, August 17, 2017.

The beautiful, colorful rocks of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, August 17, 2017.

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