New Mexico and Arizona, with their vast open spaces and arid climates that create
exceptionally clear skies, have long attracted both professional astronomers and passionate stargazers. Dotting the desert landscape is a fascinating mix of historic towns and lively arts communities steeped in the heritage of the region’s native peoples. Put it all together and you can see why we chose this spectacular corner of the Southwest for our newest TravelQuest adventure: a 10-day trip showcasing the nearly five-minute annular solar eclipse on October 14, 2023.
At dawn, from our prime eclipse viewing location, and just steps away from your room, the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta will do their Saturday mass ascension. While this is an early morning event, it is possible under the right conditions that those with cameras can capture the eclipse framed among the colorful hot air balloons.
This unique astronomical and cultural journey, taking you deep into areas of stunning natural beauty, will fill up fast – so get your plans in motion today!
October 2023 Albuquerque Annular Eclipse Viewing Prospects
By TravelQuest eclipse meteorologist Jay Anderson
The annular eclipse of 2023 comes at a fortunate time of year, crossing a New Mexico landscape blessed with good weather and pleasant but cool temperatures. In October, the monsoon season has ended across the American Southwest and winter is only a promise, heralded by an occasional dusting of snow on the surrounding mountain peaks. The distant Rocky Mountains wring Pacific moisture out of the air or block it altogether, and so the Southwest’s Colorado Plateau enjoys a dry, desert climate that favors the eclipse chaser.
Albuquerque, situated on the plateau and in the middle of the eclipse track, is the perfect place to view the Moon’s passage across the Sun. Not only does the city enjoy the dry environment of the Southwest, but it stands out with the highest frequency of sunshine anywhere along the eclipse track. Local measurements show that skies are sunny on 80 percent of October days – a statistic verified by past satellite images that show clear skies on eclipse day for 17 years out of 21. With its cosmopolitan, astronomy-aware population and a wealth of nearby sights to visit, Albuquerque is the perfect place to wait for an eclipse.