Where will you be on Sunday afternoon, May 20, 2012?
An annular eclipse will start the morning along the south China coast, then southern Japan. In the afternoon, the eclipse’s central line crosses California north of Eureka and Redding, then from Pyramid lake to Pioche in Nevada, southern-most western Utah and northern-most eastern Arizona. Approaching sunset it reaches Albuquerque, New Mexico, and ends the day at Lubbock, Texas.
I am thinking of waiting for it on Troy Peak in the Grant Range in eastern Nevada. Troy Peak stands at 11,298 ft with the Railroad Vally under 5,000 ft to its west and 20 miles between it and the next range. I read once an observer’s description from atop one of Washington state’s high mountains of a total eclipse. She wrote of a black wall sweeping across the land toward her at twice the speed of sound. It had a familiar, terrifying ring to it. “A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.”
An annular eclipse won’t be dramatic like that, but I’d like to take in what I can.