Here’s what Balloon Fiesta officials are planning for the annular solar eclipse

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Organizers with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta are expecting big crowds Saturday – not only for the Mass Ascension, but because of the annular solar eclipse.

The eclipse will be visible in Albuquerque starting at 9:13 a.m. Saturday morning.

“We are going to get a ring of fire because it can’t completely block out the sun,” said Dr. Kelly Korreck, an astrophysicist and NASA program manager for the eclipse.

The eclipse happens to fall on the second to last day of Balloon Fiesta. Event officials are preparing for many people to be able to see the eclipse from Balloon Fiesta Park.

“During that time we’re actually going to do something that’s never been one before here in Albuquerque,” said Sam Parks, Balloon Fiesta executive director. “We’re actually going to have a daylight, dusk, dark, and then daylight again balloon glow. So it’ll be approximately 75 balloons that will take center stage after the morning flight.”

NASA reps will also be at Balloon Fiesta Park, along with astronomy groups, to educate the public on the eclipse.

“NASA is going to have a couple of telescopes to view the sun, we’re going to have activities, things from observing temperature, looking at pieces of a rocket, and parts of our balloon project,” Dr. Korreck said.

When it comes to the eclipse, expects want to remind the public that they should not look at it directly.

“The sun is very bright and can burn that delicate tissue that is in the back of your eyes, so you want to make sure that you view solar viewing glasses,” Dr. Korreck said.

Balloon Fiesta officials say they will have guests covered.

“We’re very proud to be aligned with NASA to provide 80,000 free eclipse glasses to whoever comes into the park,” Parks said. “We want all of our guest to be protected.”