Solar eclipse party on Colorado football field to be world's largest

The sun is seen partially covered by the moon on Easter Island, 3700 km off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, on July 11, 2010.


Martin Bernetti

LOS ANGELES — The solar eclipse that will grace much of Asia, the Pacific region, and western North America on Sunday, May 20 is cause for celebration, especially for a group of astronomers in Colorado. 

The University of Colorado at Boulder will be hosting an eclipse-watching event at the campus' football field, which organizers are hoping will be the world's largest solar eclipse party, the Christian Science Monitor reported

This weekend's solar eclipse is not your average total eclipse, where the Sun is totally blocked: because the moon will not be able to cover the entire sun, watchers will be graced with a spectacular "ring of fire" view, according to Discover Magazine

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The event is called an annular solar eclipse — from the Latin "annulus," meaning little ring — and will block about 94 percent of the sun's light at it's peak, according to

On America's west coast, the eclipse will begin Sunday at around 5:24 p.m. Pacific Time, hit its maximum at 6:38 p.m., and end at 7:42 p.m., just 10 minutes before sunset, the Los Angeles Times reported. The east coast will miss the thrilling sight because the sun will already have set, reported. 

The annular eclipse promises to be the best eclipse the US has seen in over a decade, party organizer Doug Duncan, an astronomer at the University of Colorado and director of the school's Fiske Planetarium, told the Monitor. 

"After leading eclipse expeditions since 1970 I got tired of people not being prepared to watch, so as leader of the country's top university planetarium I went into action," Duncan said in a statement.

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Duncan expects between 10,000 and 20,000 people to attend the eclipse-watching party, and Duncan said the university has already sold 39,000 pairs of special eclipse glasses, the Monitor reported. 

"The sun is very powerful, so you need to protect your eyes," he said.

If you miss this eclipse, you'll be waiting a while for the next one: the next time a total eclipse will come to the lower 48 states will be on August 21, 2017, according to the Times. The next annular eclipse won't grace the West Coast again until 2121, according to calculations by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center scientist Fred Espenak, the Times reported. 

If you're not in Colorado, but want tips on how to maximize your star-gazing on Sunday, check out more tips from the Times here

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