What: The sun is scheduled to put on a special annular eclipse to kick off the Great Southwest Star Party, featuring a deep partial eclipse with over 90% of the sun’s surface covered by the moon. Organizers of the Star Party were delighted to hear of the sun’s participation in the event and noted that it’s unusual for the sun to take part in a Star Party, even though it’s the largest star around.
Even with the sun mostly hidden behind the moon, it’s still dangerous to look directly at it, so the Museum of Space History will be providing free eclipse glasses to the first 1000 attendees.
Astronomy League members will have telescopes with solar filters to view the annular eclipse and a special telescope inside the League’s new observatory will show the sun in Hydrogen-alpha, which is a specific wavelength of visible light. Those images will be broadcast live on a large screen monitor at the observatory.
When: Saturday, October 14, 2023, beginning at 9:00 am. Maximum obscuration (when the annular eclipse is at its peak) in the Alamogordo area will be at 10:39 am, although it begins at 9:14 am. The sun is scheduled to end its show at roughly 12:13 pm.
Where: At the Museum of Space History in Alamogordo. Activities will be held at the museum’s new observatory complex, which is in the upper parking lot below the main building. The observatory is expected to be dedicated later that afternoon.
Why: The Great Southwest Star Party (and eclipse viewing!) is a great way to learn more about the skies above us. Viewing the annular eclipse at the museum offers an opportunity to see it in a whole new light, through the lenses of specially equipped telescopes.
Sponsored by the Museum of Space History’s Astronomy League, the all day and into the night Great Southwest Star Party continues throughout the day with speaker sessions, special planetarium programs, and an evening star party. All events are free to the public, including admission to the museum and planetarium.
About the New Mexico Museum of Space History: www.nmspacemuseum.org
The New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. A Smithsonian Affiliate, the museum showcases the significant role New Mexico has played in the development of the U.S. Space Program and features the International Space Hall of Fame, and New Horizons Dome Theater.