Dec 31, 2011

Solar eclipses from Chaco Canyon

The annular solar eclipse of May 20, 2012 can be seen from China, Japan and the USA, where the path of visibility (antumbra) touches Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado (Four Corners) and Texas.
The most favorable weather conditions along the shadow track are in the American southwest, famous for its scenery and natural wonders. (Totality 12 magazine by Larry Stevens, Dec 2011 or at Javier Xubier's site and Jay Anderson's weather site).
"The western United States is the place to be for the upcoming eclipse on May 20th.", from Sky and Telescope, Feb. 2012, p.66, May’s Great Annular Eclipse, Fred Espenak & Jay Anderson

In New Mexico, Chaco Canyon -renowned for its archaeoastronomical importance- will provide a special viewing location. As one tour operator (Travelquest) advertises: "A highlight of our journey will be exploring and observing the May 20 annular solar eclipse amidst the ancient Anasazi Indian ruins at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, whose archaeoastronomy markers and alignments have earned it the nickname, “Stonehenge of the West.”"

Photographic opportunities abound. A challenge could be incorporating the Fajada Butte landmark (famous for the "Sun Dagger") as a foreground for the eclipsed sun. A regular back country permit might not be sufficient. Area closed behind sign

A petroglyph ("Piedra del Sol") near Una Vida has been associated with a total solar solar eclipse.
Traditions of the Sun Explore the world's ancient observatories
Book  pg. 24: petroglyph called "Piedra del Sol" - Solar eclipse with corona?
Exploratorium The petroglyph is thought by some to represent the total solar eclipse of AD 1097.  
Exploratorium Piedra del Sol
Solar Eclipse Petroglyph Solar Astronomy in the Prehistoric Southwest
Photography by David Cortner
See also the page Sun Dagger in Chaco Canyon on this blog.

So when did total or annular eclipses occur there - during the Chacoan Period or an extended time frame?

Total solar eclipses occurred in Chaco Canyon on 0310 May 15, 0804 Apr 13, 1097 Jul 1, 1259 Oct 17 between 1 and 2012 as calculated by Xavier Jubiers tool Five Millennium (-1999 to +3000) Canon of Solar Eclipses Database.
"on March 7th, 1076, a total solar eclipse was visible just south of Chaco" (Ward).
In Chaco Canyon, it was partial with 95% magnitude, the center line 190 km to the south.

Annular eclipses were on 0098 Mar 21, 0171 Apr 22, 0290 Nov 19, 0805 Sep 26,1156 Nov14 before 2012 May 20.
The next one thereafter will occur on 2023 Oct 14 in the morning, the central line running exactly through Chaco canyon.
Further annular eclipses before 3000 will occur on 2121 Jul 14, 2154 Apr 12, 2711 May 09, 2795 Nov  03, 2876 Dec 06.

The total  solar eclipse of Aug 21, 2017 will be visible as partial with a maximum magnitude of 80%.
Before 3000, another total eclipse will happen on 2866 Jul  03.

Landsat views the world, plate 84,
NASA SP-360, 1976

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