fb-pixel Skip to main content

Ring of fire solar eclipse crosses New England creating ‘magical’ sight

An annular eclipse was seen at sunrise over Plymouth Harbor Thursday morning.
An annular eclipse was seen at sunrise over Plymouth Harbor Thursday morning.John Tlumacki/globe staff

As the sun rose Thursday, the moon’s dark shadow began to sweep across the region, and early risers in parts of the state caught a glimpse of what looked like a “ring of fire.”

The annular solar eclipse had arrived.

Small groups of residents gathered at Castle Island in hopes of catching a glimpse of the event, which began as the sun rose around 5:07 a.m.

Taufiq Dhanani arrived at 4:45 a.m., protective glasses in hand, and set up a camera to capture the sight.

“Especially at the end of the pandemic, it’s magical,” he said.

He passed the glasses around to those who were standing nearby.

Advertisement



“It’s such a great view, it would be a shame not to share,” he said. “It’s not my view, it’s everyone’s view.”

Cloud cover obstructed optimal viewing of the celestial event for the first half hour, prompting some frustration among viewers as the moon became sandwiched between the Earth and sun for the first time since 2017. The solar eclipse peaked in Boston and New England around 5:33 a.m., and lasted until around 6:33 a.m. By the end, it was visible.

“Seeing it when it escaped the clouds, I thought, ‘Whoa, this is crazy,’ ” Dhanani said.

An annular, or ring-shaped, eclipse happens when the moon is farthest from Earth. Due to its distance, the moon seems smaller and doesn’t entirely block the sun, leaving a “ring of fire” around the edge.

Eclipses are not uncommon but are rarely seen in Massachusetts, according to Boston University’s observatory manager Quinn Sykes. The next one will be visible here in 2024. Thursday’s event was a partial solar eclipse, unlike four years ago when a full one was visible.

At Castle Island Thursday morning, Kiril Selverov, 48, said he’d never before been in the right place at the right time to view such an event.

Advertisement



Tafiq Dhanani wore special glasses to watch the solar eclipse at Pleasure Bay in Boston.
Tafiq Dhanani wore special glasses to watch the solar eclipse at Pleasure Bay in Boston.Jakob Menendez/For the Boston Globe

“I’ve always been in a different continent,” he said. “Or, the timing worked out, but the cloud cover didn’t.”

Selverov said his interest in eclipses came from the novel “Nightfall” by Isaac Asimov, inspiring him to make the trip to Pleasure Bay on Thursday in search of a low horizon.

Emily Pettengill, a 29-year-old Roxbury resident, said she came to see the eclipse because she is “really into astronomy and astrology.” Pettengill said she and Eduardo Rodriguez, 29, were thrilled to find out it would be visible over Boston.

“It’s one of the most amazing phenomenon ever,” she said. “It’s rare. It’s special.”

Rodriguez echoed that sentiment.

“Two celestial objects crossing paths, I feel like this is a pretty amazing thing,” he said. “It’s unlikely.”

By 6:15 a.m. the crowds dissipated as the annular eclipse reached its conclusion and sunlight burst through the clouds.

Rachele Rosi-Kessel, 51, said the feeling of community with other eclipse viewers made the experience that much more special.

“It’s wonderful to be out here with all these people,” she said.

“It’s the eclipse of the pandemic,” quipped Rosi-Kessel’s friend, 57-year-old Alta Tarala.

Rosi-Kessel said she enlisted Tarala to wake up early and watch it.

“Nature is a miracle,” she said.

An annular eclipse was seen at sunrise over Plymouth Harbor Thursday morning.
An annular eclipse was seen at sunrise over Plymouth Harbor Thursday morning.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
A group of onlookers at Pleasure Bay crowded together to catch a glimpse of the eclipse using a Cheerios box and homemade pin hole projectors.
A group of onlookers at Pleasure Bay crowded together to catch a glimpse of the eclipse using a Cheerios box and homemade pin hole projectors.Jakob Menendez/For the Boston Globe
An annular eclipse shaded by clouds and framed by the cable stays of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge in Boston.
An annular eclipse shaded by clouds and framed by the cable stays of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge in Boston.Dan Dill
An annular eclipse rose over Scituate Light in Scituate.
An annular eclipse rose over Scituate Light in Scituate.JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images
A jogger ran along the waterfront while photographers Lee Varis (left) and his wife Bobbi Lane photographed the eclipse in Plymouth.
A jogger ran along the waterfront while photographers Lee Varis (left) and his wife Bobbi Lane photographed the eclipse in Plymouth.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
A eclipsed sun rose over Tobermory in Ontario, Canada.
A eclipsed sun rose over Tobermory in Ontario, Canada.GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images
A partially eclipsed sun peaked out from behind a cloud as it rose over lower Manhattan.
A partially eclipsed sun peaked out from behind a cloud as it rose over lower Manhattan.Seth Wenig/Associated Press
People photographed a partial solar eclipse through cloud cover from Primrose Hill in central London.
People photographed a partial solar eclipse through cloud cover from Primrose Hill in central London.NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images
A bird is silhouetted against the sun as the moon blocked part of the sun during a partial solar eclipse in St. Petersburg, Russia.
A bird is silhouetted against the sun as the moon blocked part of the sun during a partial solar eclipse in St. Petersburg, Russia.Dmitri Lovetsky/Associated Press
A statue of Our Lady, Star Of The Sea on Bull Wall in Dublin is silhouetted against the sky during a partial solar eclipse.
A statue of Our Lady, Star Of The Sea on Bull Wall in Dublin is silhouetted against the sky during a partial solar eclipse.Brian Lawless/Associated Press
A partial solar eclipse over the Baltimore skyline.
A partial solar eclipse over the Baltimore skyline.Julio Cortez/Associated Press


Christina Prignano of the Globe staff contributed to this report.



Brittany Bowker can be reached at brittany.bowker@globe.com. Follower her on Twitter @brittbowker. Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.