Mike and Jessica Craig take in the annular eclipse of the sun on June 10, 2021, on Portland's Eastern Prom. Annular eclipses happen when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, blocking out part of its light. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

PORTLAND, Maine — About a hundred people gathered along the city’s Eastern Prom Thursday morning at sunrise to view an annular eclipse of the sun.

Some sat on park benches, sipping coffee, wrapped in blankets. Others walked their dogs or pointed their phones at the glowing horizon.

The eclipse started just before sunrise at 5 a.m. and continued until 6:30 a.m.

From left (clockwise): Using a pair of mylar safety glasses, Parag Mahale watches the annular eclipse of the sun on June 10, 2021, on Portland’s Eastern Prom; The moon’s silhouette passes between the Earth and the sun during the annular eclipse of the sun on June 10, 2021, on Portland’s Eastern Prom; A pair of solar safety glasses provided by the Southern Maine Astronomers club sit on a table for the public to use while watching the annular eclipse of the sun June 10, 2021, on Portland’s Eastern Prom. Credit: Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Members of the Southern Maine Astronomers club were on hand with equipment for public use, including mylar safety glasses and specially equipped binoculars and a telescope.

A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. If the moon is close enough to our planet, it blots out our local star completely. That’s a total eclipse. 

Thursday’s eclipse was only a partial — or annular — eclipse because the moon was a bit further from the Earth and appeared too small to block all the sun’s rays. 

From left (clockwise): Lucy Ellis watches the the annular eclipse of the sun through safety glasses attached to a paper plate on June 10, 2021, on Portland’s Eastern Prom; A group of people sit in the grass. taking in the annular eclipse of the sun on June 10, 2021, on Portland’s Eastern Prom; A man looks through a pair of safety glass while watching the annular eclipse of the sun on June 10, 2021, on Portland’s Eastern Prom; Rob Burgess, president of the Southern Maine Astronomers club adjusts a telescope for the public to use while watching the annular eclipse of the sun on June 10, 2021, on Portland’s Eastern Prom. Credit: Troy R. Bennett | BDN

The moon’s silhouette appeared as a crescent shape on the sun’s disk Thursday morning. In more northerly latitudes, over Greenland and parts of Siberia, the moon passed through the center of the disk, creating the so-called “ring of fire effect.”

No such spectacle could be seen in Maine, but it didn’t stop people from enjoying the solar event with many “oos” and “ahhs” uttered while staring at the sky. 

Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.