Hundreds of early risers in Montreal gathered at the Olympic stadium to observe a partial eclipse of the sun Thursday morning.
The rare phenomenon was visible across Quebec and much of eastern Canada.
Beginning as early as 5 a.m. and hitting its peak at around 5:39 a.m. about 80 per cent of the sun’s surface viewable from Earth was covered by the passing of the moon.
From Montreal, onlookers saw a black crescent slide over the orange globe.
Amateur astronomers and families stood with their heads up in awe, many watching the solar event for the first time.
“It’s like vertigo. You feel the great distance and the celestial bodies moving,” Felix Lamarche said.
Shania-Li Thibeault woke up at 3 a.m. on her own birthday to experience the rare event.
“It’s my 18th birthday today so it’s a good gift,” Thibeault said.
An annular eclipse is a rare form of solar eclipse that occurs when the moon is at the farthest point in its orbit around the Earth.
That makes the moon look slightly smaller from the Earth’s perspective — the opposite of the so-called “supermoon,” when the moon is closer and looks bigger in the sky.
In this case, the slightly smaller-looking moon did not completely cover the disc of the sun as viewed from Earth.
Instead, it allowed the sun to shine around the edges of the disc of the moon at the moment of maximum eclipse, creating a so-called “ring of fire” effect.
If you missed this partial eclipse, don’t worry.
Mark your calendars because a total solar eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024.
The last one to be observed from Quebec was in 1932.
— with files from Josh K. Elliott