ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It's a spectacular event, and the city of Albuquerque has a front row seat.
The moon will move in front of the sun on Sunday blocking it partially, but leaving behind a glorious ring of light in the sky viewable from parts of Asia and the western U.S.
But the band where the phenomenon known as an annular--ring-shaped--eclipse will occur is a narrow one.
Luckily for those in the Duke City, the exact center of the band goes right through Albuquerque's South Valley nearly crossing the Sunport.
"If you go as far north as Santa Fe, the moon is not going to be centered on the sun," said Barry Spletzer with the Albuquerque Astronomical Society. "It's going to be touching the edge of the sun. If you go to Belen you get the same thing."
That central location and small viewing area means Albuquerque is the largest city in the country in the path of the annular eclipse.
The show begins at 6:28 pm on Sunday with the moon sitting completely inside the sun for a little more than four minutes from 7:33 p.m. to 7:37 pm. The eclipse will continue even after the sun has set.
- 1st contact is at 6:28pm (MDT) when the moon first begins to cover the sun.
- 2nd contact at 7:33pm (MDT) when the moon is completely within the disk of the sun. The totality of the annular portion of the eclipse is 4 minutes and 26 seconds.
- 3rd contact at 7:38pm when the moon touches the edge of the disk of the sun on its way out of the sun's disk. The sun sets at 8:20pm before the eclipse is over.
As tempting as it may be, it's a bad idea to stare straight at the eclipse.
"If you stare at the sun on a normal day you'll burn a hole in your retina," Spletzer said. "During the eclipse you'll only burn a donut.
"You'll have permanent eye damage if you stare at the eclipse. That's all there is to it."
While sunglasses don't work either, there are many safe ways to view this solar phenomenon.
Safety options include:
- Do not look directly at the sun - sunglasses are not adequate
- Solar viewing glasses or looking through pinhole cameras
- Telescopes with proper solar filtering
Those glasses will be available at several eclipse viewing events this weekend while supplies last.
A wide array of events are being offered Sunday. Bluewater Lake State Park and Bandelier National Monument are two parks offering programs for the eclipse as are Albuquerque's Balloon Museum and Bernalillo County's Parks and Recreation Department .
Albuquerque's Sheraton hotel near the Sunport is offering eclipse weekend packages.
The Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau has a list of local events on a special website.
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