[Photos taken on Chaco Winter Solstice 1998 - (c) Christina A. Solstad]
(my apologies for the odd photo and text formatting ... will be fixing it later, but wanted to get this info to you!)
If you are heading to Chaco for winter solstice, here is what my dear friend and Chaco park interpretive ranger extraordinaire, GB Cornucopia, told me yesterday (Sunday Dec 19). Lunar eclipse info is at the end of this post.
- It is currently cloudy and threatening snow, tho there is no snow there at the moment. It is supposed to be cloudy thru Wednesday, but that can always change!
- With the lunar eclipse and full moon, they will be opening up the observatory Monday at midnite for viewing.
- Casa Rinconada (the great kiva on the south side of the canyon) will be open at sunset Monday (normally the sites are closed between sunset and sunrise) for the moonrise.
- Pueblo Bonito will be open for sunrise Tuesday morning, for viewing of the winter solstice alignment in one of the corner windows.
I was there for winter solstice in 1998, and it snowed that morning, so missed seeing the sun and alignment, but got to see the magic of fresh snow everywhere! I am posting several photos of this amazing sight that few get to see.
The Visitor Center, which has been closed since last spring, and is in a wonderful yurt instead, has now been torn down, and they plan to have the new one built by next summer (tho realistically will likely be much later than that).
If you go, be sure to introduce yourself to GB, and say hi to him for me. It is sure to be a wonderful experience no matter what the weather holds. And give Chaco my love as you enjoy its splendor. :-)
Here is some info on the RARE LUNAR ECLIPSE:
The lunar eclipse of Dec. 21st falls on the same date as the northern winter solstice. Is this rare? It is indeed, according to Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory, who inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years. "Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is Dec. 21, 1638," says Chester. "Fortunately we won't have to wait 372 years for the next one...that will be on Dec. 21, 2094."