Rock of the Sun in Chaco Canyon

NOTE for those who may be sensitive to viewing solar eclipses: Please be aware that this video does NOT contain any images of the real Moon covering the real Sun. It does contain simulated images of the Sun's corona during eclipse totality and a computer animation of an ancient total solar eclipse.

The extraordinary, multi-institutional PUNCH Outreach team has produced a new short video (4m 58s) called Rock of the Sun in Chaco Canyon (YouTube video link)

In keeping with the PUNCH Outreach Ancient & Modern Sun-watching theme, the video portrays NASA Sun-watching as a natural extension of humanity's age-old dedication to observing the rhythms and mysteries of the Sun. We hope you enjoy this opportunity to commune with both Chaco and NASA Sun-watchers.

The content of our video has been developed and vetted by experienced Chaco interpreters, solar astronomers, science educators, and cross-cultural partners who are all part of the PUNCH Outreach team. We created this product in preparation for the 2024 eclipse yet also designed it to be valuable in an enduring way for learning in multiple disciplines, including astronomy, archaeology, anthropology, history, art, and Native American studies.

The film introduces an unusual, curlicued petroglyph located in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico at a Sun-watching site we call Rock of the Sun. The petroglyph is plausibly interpreted as an Ancestral Puebloan impression of the 1097 total solar eclipse at a time of high solar activity. The 2024 total solar eclipse over the US is also at a time of high solar activity. PUNCH Outreach work at the site has helped to strengthen the hypothesis that the petroglyph may be humanity's first known representation of a solar storm in the corona.

The foundational photography and photogrammetry featured in the film were mindfully harvested (rather than taken or extracted) by the PUNCH Outreach team in a culturally respectful and appreciative manner over the past 4 years. We are dedicated to using these resources for the benefit of all people.


  • View the Credits Slide (PDF) for the YouTube video above, Rock of the Sun in Chaco Canyon.
  • The PUNCH Outreach Logo Info Card (PDF) explains the meaning of the logo seen throughout this site and on the YouTube video above.


  • "This phenomenal piece, in 5 short minutes, connects modern solar observations to ancient Sun-watching practices in the US Southwest...inviting a shared human experience across the centuries. Well done!"
    Craig DeForest
    Principal Investigator, NASA PUNCH Mission
  • "Awesome!  Chaco Canyon is special to many indigenous people of the Southwestern US. This short video does a thoughtful job of depicting and describing a Chaco cultural site in a way that can be appreciated by everyone. Both my Puebloan and Navajo relatives enjoyed watching it.

    The film's narration is low-key, rhythmic, and well woven with the immersive visuals. This appropriately emphasizes the petroglyphs, the Sun, and all Sun-watchers as the 'stars of the show.' Dawa’ae (Thank you)."

    Joe Aragon
    Pueblo of Acoma
  • "Wow, really nice work, bravo to all! Well-told, clear, and inspiring! Love the extension work to the photogrammetry we contributed. My hats-off to the animators! So happy to have contributed!"
    Eric Hanson
    Founder and Executive Director, blueplanet VR
  • "This is an exceptional video and I am sharing it widely!"
    Rick Varner
    Center Director, Scobee Education Center
    San Antonio College
  • "I love the video! As a blind listener, I found the narrative very well expressed, informative, and filled with vivid verbal visuals and details. I seamlessly attended to the flow of information presented and think the video can be a great audio companion to the thermoform tactile-art representations of the solar corona the PUNCH Outreach team is creating. Great work!"
    Tasnim Alshuli
    PhD candidate, U. Arizona
    Member, PUNCH Outreach Advisory Board
  • "As an interpreter deeply involved in presenting Chaco Canyon to a wider public, I could not be more pleased and excited with the balanced and thoroughly accurate video the PUNCH Outreach team has created. In the narrator’s voice you hear the Rock of the Sun speaking, adding an intimate and authentic quality to the information being conveyed. This is interpretation and education at its finest, and I am proud to have been a contributor to this effort."
    G B Cornucopia
    Chaco Ranger (retired in 2022 after 30+ years of service)

Please contact PUNCH Outreach with questions, ideas, or other comments about this product.

Sign up for our 1-page monthly newsletter and product updates.