Solar Eclipse 2021: Highlights From the ‘Ring of Fire’


Jay Pasachoff, an astronomer at Williams College, has chased eclipses all over the world and wasn’t planning to miss this one.

He, his wife, Naomi, and another 30 or so people boarded a three-hour Delta flight out of Minneapolis into the darkness and back. The trip was sponsored by Sky and Telescope magazine and led by Kelly Beatty, a senior editor of the magazine.

Seats on the plane went for up to $3,100 according to a price list.

The plane flew to 39,000 feet and was 5,000 feet above the clouds, giving the Pasachoffs and their fellow passengers a lengthy view of the eclipse.

“We were able to see the eclipsed sun for about a half hour, with four and a half minutes in which we saw the bright ring around the black silhouette of the moon,” he wrote in an email.

He added that it was the 73rd solar eclipse and the 19th annular one he had seen.

— Dennis Overbye

The ring of fire was visible across a narrow band in the far northern latitudes, starting near Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada, at sunrise, or 5:55 a.m. Eastern time. It then crossed Greenland, the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole, ending in Siberia at sunset, or 7:29 a.m. Eastern time.

Outside of that strip, observers could see a crescent sun, or a partial solar eclipse. The closer they were to the centerline, the more of the sun was gone. At about 5:32 a.m. in the New York metropolitan area, the sun was 73 percent obscured, according to Mr. Kentrianakis, who was the Eclipse Project Manager for the American Astronomical Society during the big eclipse in 2017



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