ALBUQUERQUE – When more than 500 hot air balloons take flight in Albuquerque on Oct. 14, the annular solar eclipse will be underway, offering a spectacular sight for festival attendees.
New Mexico is one of eight states along the path of the maximum eclipse where people can witness the "ring of fire," including at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world's largest gathering of balloons.
The 51st Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta runs from Oct. 7-15.
The balloon festival will be a top spot to view the ring of fire, which will be visible at 10:34 a.m. MDT in New Mexico. Mass ascension at the Balloon Fiesta on Oct. 14 will begin at 9:13 a.m. local time when the eclipse is already underway. A partial eclipse ends at 12:09 p.m. MDT.
According to organizers, balloons will glow on the launch field in the darkness from the eclipse, creating an "eclipse glow" to celebrate the event.
The forecast is why the Balloon Fiesta happens in Albuquerque in October. According to event organizers, the October climate and a combination of weather patterns called the "Albuquerque Box" make it possible for pilots to take off and land at the same location.
Based on historical weather data, Albuquerque is an excellent choice to view the eclipse as the city averages .87 inches of rain in October.
The Fiesta is one of two locations where NASA will host live solar eclipse coverage with expert guests.
NASA scientists and representatives will be at the Balloon Fiesta handing out 80,000 solar eclipse glasses. Unlike a total solar eclipse, eclipse glasses are required the entire time for an annular eclipse.
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The space agency is also hosting live coverage from the Kerrville RiverFest in Kerrville, Texas, along the path of the maximum eclipse. A large swath of Texas will be under the path of an eclipse again in 2024, when a total solar eclipse happens on April 8.
Original article source: October solar eclipse 'ring of fire' will happen during Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta