"Ring of Fire" dazzles onlookers as moon blocks sun in near-total eclipse

An annular solar eclipse stunned skywatchers Thursday as the moon and sun aligned to create what looked like a "ring of fire." WCBS Chief Weathercaster Lonnie Quinn shows us the spectacular views from around the world, and tells you how you can catch the next one.

Video Transcript

ANTHONY MASON: People in the Northeast who got up to watch the sunrise only saw part of it. A rare solar eclipse that astronomers call a ring of fire took a bite out of the sun for more than an hour. Chief weathercaster Lonnie Quinn of our New York station WCBS TV was watching that show in the sky. Lonnie, it's been a long time since we've seen this.

LONNIE QUINN: Oh, yeah, Anthony. In the Northeast, you have got to go back to 1959, that's before I was born. The next one, not until 2079. So, this was my opportunity, my once in a lifetime opportunity to see it. It did not disappoint. Here in Connecticut, we had a spectacular view of it. About 80% of the sun was covered by the moon as it was rising. I mean, it was something to see, and you had all kinds of iconic pictures around the Northeast. The sun rose over that iconic New York City skyline, great shots from the Jersey Shore as well.

Again, like I said, nothing was disappointing out there, except for the fact that if you were in Boston or if you were in Michigan. Unfortunately, there, it was kind of clouded over because Michigan should have been the primo spot in the United States to see it, too much cloud cover for you folks. What you had was an annular eclipse, and I'll explain that in just a second. But if you were looking for the Ring of Fire that you talked about, Anthony, you had to go to Ontario, Canada, and they had the ultimate show.

An annular eclipse simply means the moon is farther away, so it appears smaller and not quite big enough to cover the entire sun, so you get that ring of fire, as we were referring to it. But if this whole thing has gotten you excited about eclipses, the next American total eclipse will come on April 8, 2024. It will start in Texas. It will travel to Maine. And that will be a situation, with a daytime sky will go dark for about four minutes. But if it's the sunrise eclipse that you're interested in, and I think sunrise eclipses can be the best because they're lower in the sky, right?

I mean, they're right along the horizon. So, early on, you don't need all the special glasses because you're looking through a lot of atmospheres, it's right on the surface, and it just looks better out there, if you ask me. That next one is going to be 2048 in Colorado or, like I said, 2079 here in the Northeast. So for me, I think 2079, I'm going to be 115 so yeah.

ANTHONY MASON: You might make it, Lonnie. I'm not going to be there.

LONNIE QUINN: I'll eat my veggies.

[LAUGHTER]

ANTHONY MASON: You might make it, Lonnie, but not me.

- No, no, Anthony. We'll be here with our walkers and our dentures.

ANTHONY MASON: (laughs) You be so lucky, could be so lucky. All right, Lonnie, thanks.