Western USA will momentarily fall into darkness on May 20, 2012, when it experiences an annular eclipse. The eclipse, which will sweep across East Asia, over the Northern Pacific Ocean and then into the South Western United States, will occur when the moon moves in front of the sun and gives the impression of a ring of sunlight around the solar disc.

Explore has launched a special eclipse departure, allowing guests to witness the rare annular eclipse which will not be visible from the UK.

A 15-day tour to Western USA travels from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, stopping on day nine of the itinerary in Monument Valley to witness the eclipse. Guests will celebrate the event with a traditional dinner and Navajo cultural evening. With the opportunity for guests to combine an interest in astronomy with a love of travel, the rest of the tour will focus on visiting observatories and sights of astronomical interest, as well as discovering the main natural highlights of the area which include the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon.

The tour is accompanied by an expert astronomer with the departure scheduled for May 12. Prices lead in at £2,597 per person including flights, accommodation, some meals, all transport and the services of a tour leader, astronomer and local guides.

For clients who would like to see the annular eclipse but are not looking to tailor their whole trip around astronomy, the operator is running special departures of its Western USA Highlights, Yosemite & Grand Canyon – Hotel Itineraryand High Plains Highlights tours. With departures between May 5 and 12, the tours all offer viewings of the eclipse in locations around Western USA.

For details see www.explore.co.uk or call 0844-499 0901.

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