Annular eclipse is set to arrive on October 14

by David Boyle
News Director
San Juan County is set to receive an influx of visitors on October 14 as an Annular Eclipse will be visible throughout the entire county.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explains an annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth when at its farthest point from Earth.
Because the Moon is farther from Earth, it appears smaller than the Sun and does not completely cover the Sun, and creates a “ring of fire” effect in the sky.
The annular eclipse will be viewable throughout San Juan County excluding the far northeast portion of the county, including Spanish Valley.
The town of Mexican Hat will be in the direct path of annularity on Saturday, October 14 at 10:30 a.m. The eclipse will be viewable for about four minutes and 46 seconds in Mexican Hat. The eclipse will be viewable for 4:41 in Bluff, 4:24 in Monument Valley, 4:00 in Blanding and 2:42 in Monticello.
While many will want to look at the annular eclipse, doing so safely requires safe solar viewing glasses. Regular sunglasses cannot safely be used to view an eclipse.
Viewing any part of the sun through a camera lens, binoculars or telescope without a special-purpose solar filter over the front of the optics will instantly cause severe eye injury.
Additionally viewing the sun through cameras, binoculars or telescopes even with Eclipse glasses will cause concentrated solar rays to burn through the filter and cause serious eye injury.
During a nearby total eclipse in 2017, a partial eclipse was cast over southeastern Utah. One local optometrist shared at least one example of a local resident permanently damaging their eyesight by looking at the 2017 eclipse without proper eye protection.
While wearing eye protection while looking at the eclipse is important, taking them off before the eclipse is also important, navigating local outdoor terrain while wearing sun-blocking glasses could lead to injuries, including serious injuries in the mountains and canyons of San Juan County.
Visitation is expected to be very high in San Juan County during the eclipse. In fact, in April 2023 San Juan County shared that local lodging properties had reported 95 to 100 percent occupancy for the weekend of the eclipse.
In advance of the eclipse, San Juan County Visitor Services department has been participating in meetings with communities impacted by previous eclipse events.
With a large number of visitors to the area, the county is recommending businesses be stocked and staffed. As noted county hotels are at or near 100 percent occupancy, meaning restaurants, gas stations and shops will all be busier than normal. 
With an influx of visitors it is also recommended to plan ahead by shopping for essentials before visitors arrive.
Additionally, increased visitation means higher crowds at national and state parks, monuments and recreation areas with a recommendation to avoid those areas.
The county also says that An influx of visitors in the days surrounding the eclipse could also lead to an increase in EMS-related incidents. County officials recommend being prepared by having a plan for what to do in case of an emergency.
While some indigenous tribes are allowed to view eclipses, Navajo and Ute tribes do not look at the eclipse.
Navajo Nation Parks will close from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on October 14, including Monument Valley Tribal Park and the Four Corners Monument.
Other businesses located on or near tribal lands may also be impacted as Indigenous owners and employees may be gone for the morning or all day.
Not viewing the eclipse includes reflections and photos for Navajo and Ute peoples.
Non-indigenous people can show respect for Native beliefs by not posting videos or photos of eclipses on social media or posting warnings so people can scroll past those posts.
A host of events and offerings are available during the eclipse, including the Ring of Fire Fest at Goosenecks State Park with food trucks and eclipse activities on October 14.
Another free event will be at Centennial Park in Blanding with food and crafts.

San Juan Record

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PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

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