When I was in first or second grade, there was a solar eclipse. We all ran out to the playground with our homemade pin-hole viewers, full of excitement. The whole thing was brief (if I remember correctly), but thrilling.
Well, this past weekend, those of us in Albuquerque, New Mexico, were blessed with yet another solar eclipse. The shadow of the eclipse passed directly over a relatively small patch of earth, much of it in the Pacific. But Albuquerque residents were fortunate enough to be dead-center on the path of the eclipse, where the moon was to pass directly in front of the sun.
And pass in front of it, it did. However, it was unlike the eclipse of my childhood. The whole process roughly two hours long, with four minutes of full eclipse time, but it was an annular eclipse. It was also what's called an "annular" eclipse, where the moon isn't close enough to block out the whole of the sun. So, the fortunate viewer sees a “ring of fire” in the sky.
A clear evening, not a cloud in sight, it was perfect for view such a phenomenon (with the right glasses, welding masks, or contraptions, of course). And as the sunlight was gradually dimmed, the change was palpable, an orange dust coating our city. It was a lovely, magical way to spend a Sunday evening.