SUU Plans for Ring of Fire with Open Community Events

Published: May 18, 2012 | Category: Academics

Cedar City is just a few miles up the road from the premier viewpoint—Kanarraville—for the upcoming annular solar eclipse on Sunday evening, when the moon will cross in front of the sun, a phenomenon that has not occurred from the United States’ vantage point in 18 years.

Tourists and locals alike are anxiously preparing for the eclipse, which will begin at 6:22 p.m. MST, and Southern Utah University’s Ashcroft Observatory is no exception. Though traditionally closed on weekends, the observatory will open to the public at 6 p.m. Sunday in anticipation of this once-in-a-lifetime experience an will remain open, free of charge, to all those who would like to use the Observatory’s sightline through the eclipse’s conclusion at sunset, when the moon finally slips off the face of the sun.

This is one of many organized efforts across Southern Utah to educate and enjoy this unique opportunity. In fact, SUU’s Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History has partnered with the Cedar City Brian Head Tourism Bureau to create a fun-filled day of activities at the Cedar City Aquatic Center on Saturday to teach local schoolchildren more about the science behind the eclipse.

From 11 a.m.–3 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, children can enjoy free learning activities about the solar system, animal adaptation, etc., at the Aquatic Center. Once a participant has completed all eight learning activities, they can turn in their punch card for a free pool pass for use through the rest of the day Saturday as well as a complimentary pair of refractive glasses to use during Sunday’s eclipse.

Additional information about the eclipse is available through the Frehner Museum’s website, suu.ed/cose/museum.

The Ashcroft Observatory is located on the hilltop just south of the SUU farm on Westview Drive. In keeping with a long-standing tradition stemming from its opening in the early 1970s, the Observatory remains focused on community involvement and learning opportunities. In addition to Sunday’s special eclipse hours, the Observatory is open every Monday night to all those interested in learning about constellations or viewing distant parts of the galaxy.

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