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Eclipse Coming Soon; Look To The Heavens Near Angels Landing

A unique celestial event will be observable in southwest Utah in the upcoming months, adding to Greater Zion’s extensive portfolio of opportunities to view the sky in ways you have never seen before. An annular solar eclipse will be visible near Greater Zion on Oct. 14, 2023 from 9:08 to 11:56 a.m. MDT, and a partial solar eclipse will be visible directly in Greater Zion at the same time.

Visual showcase of the eclipse viewing sites
Photo courtesy of Michael Zeiler,

What is going on?

You’re likely to find a beautiful observation spot in many of our open spaces here in Greater Zion.

So, what exactly is an annular solar eclipse? An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon obstructs our view of the sun partially, but a small ring of the sun is still visible. This phenomenon is informally referred to as a “ring of fire.” 

The moon will not obstruct the entirety of the sun like in a total solar eclipse because it will be too far away from Earth at that point in its revolution, so you can expect the sky to become dimmer, but not outright dark. We all know it’s best practice to never stare directly at the sun, but remember, that rule still applies during an eclipse despite the sun being partially covered. Wear eye protection the entire time you observe the eclipse, per experts’ recommendation.
An important eye safety disclaimer, in the words of NASA: “When watching an annular solar eclipse directly with your eyes, you must look through safe solar viewing glasses (“eclipse glasses”) or a safe handheld solar viewer at all times. Eclipse glasses are NOT regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing the Sun.”

Where can I watch?

After you have purchased proper eye protection, the next thing you will need to do is find a good observation spot. 

Seasoned chasers like to point out that if you wait for an eclipse to come to you, you might be waiting for the rest of your life. The upcoming annular eclipse is no exception, but luckily, the direct path is only a few hours away from Greater Zion. To observe the eclipse in its full annular position (the complete “ring of fire” position that we mentioned earlier), you will need to travel directly into the eclipse’s path. Here are a few locations for prime annular views:

  • Bryce Canyon National Park (~2 hours away from St. George)
  • Canyonlands National Park (~5 hours away from St. George)
  • Capitol Reef National Park (~3.5 hours away from St. George)
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (~2.5 hours away from St. George)

If you’re feeling more partial to a partial eclipse (and less travel), there are plenty more local observation spots within Greater Zion. We recommend these gorgeous destinations year-round, but an eclipse will make the experience all the more wondrous:

You’re likely to find a beautiful observation spot in many of our open spaces here in Greater Zion, and the coming event will enhance the ever-present sense of beauty and wonder. Dedicated groups plan trips years in advance to observe these cosmic coincidences, and many ancient cultures interpreted eclipses as a signal of rebirth. We invite you to experience this renewal for yourself in the Land of Forever.