Early risers on the U.S. East Coast were treated to a rare annular eclipse Thursday as the moon partially blocked out the sun to create a “ring of fire.” The partial eclipse began at sunrise over Ontario, its route touching the North Pole as it crossed over Greenland and Russia. Although visible across much of the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe, American eclipse fans got a particularly clear view as the moon blocked out up to 80 percent of the left side of the sun for about four minutes. NBC New York reported an “audible gasp” from the observation deck of the Empire State Building in Manhattan, where about two dozen invited guests gathered at dawn to watch the moon carve a crescent out of the sun. According to NASA, annular eclipses occur when “the moon is far enough away from Earth that the moon appears smaller than the sun in the sky,” creating a disk-like effect. From the U.S., only a partial eclipse was visible.
As ever, experts advised people to wear special pin-hole-style eclipse glasses to watch the phenomenon. It was not clear whether Florida resident Donald Trump, who famously broke the only rule about watching solar eclipses when one passed over the White House in 2017, was up in time to see today’s annular version.