Balloon Fiesta to celebrate annular solar eclipse

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Ring of Fire isn’t just a Johnny Cash song, it’s a real phenomenon that happens during an annular solar eclipse.

“An annular eclipse, which is the one coming up on October 14,” said John Jerit, the president of American Paper Optics.

This eclipse happens when the moon blocks the view of the sun but is far enough away that the shadow can’t quite cover the entire sun.

“It’s gonna leave a small little disk around it and that’s called the Ring of Fire,” Jerit said.

Albuquerque will be one of the best spots in the world to view it.

On October 14, it’ll be during Balloon Fiesta no less. NASA representatives will be at Balloon Fiesta Park for the big day. They’ll help distribute eclipse glasses to people.

“We’ve done many orders for NASA. This is the one that they did, as you know, promoting NASA and the Eclipse,” Jerit said.

With those glasses on, you’ll then be able to enjoy the entire eclipse without hurting your eyes.

“They cut down on the radiation and the light effects coming in towards your eyes. It will allow you to look directly at the sun. On a normal day, we can’t look at the sun at all,” Jerit said.

During this time, there will be a special glow happening when the Ring of Fire is visible.

“We’re really keen on having our balloon glow at night. Now, we’re gonna have a Balloon Glow in the middle of the morning,” said Sam Parks, the executive director of Balloon Fiesta.

72 balloons will be a part of that glow.

“We picked 72 because that’s when we all got started in 1972. We just chose the first 72 that we drew out of a hat. Those are the lucky people,” Parks explained.

Fiesta attendees, then, will get another chance to see spectacular sights on the ground – and in the sky.

“We’re gonna have a celebration like none other to celebrate this eclipse,” Parks said.

With proper eye protection, of course.