Crowds gather to watch solar eclipse across Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Thousands of people came out to Balloon Fiesta Park Saturday morning not just for the balloons, but to catch the annular eclipse. 

“This view, the people, the hundreds of thousands of people are here. This is just breathtaking. I love it. I just I couldn’t, I couldn’t have done it and find anything better,” said Zeno Chaply.

Zeno Chapy says he came all the way from Virginia to visit his daughter and come to Balloon Fiesta. The annular eclipse was just the cherry on top for him. 

“I got some great pictures. I’ve seen eclipses before, but this ring of fire was so clear, so beautiful it’s just- and the skies they opened up and rendered a perfect day,” said Chaply. 

An annular eclipse is when the moon passed in front of the sun, but looks smaller, so it creates a small ring of light.  There were some worries about cloudy skies Saturday. 

Susan Newmann says she had the best first Balloon Fiesta ever.

“It’s just, it was just once in a lifetime, wonderful, wonderful experience. Just, you know, if you’ve never been you’ve got a come,” said Newmann. 

Almost everyone had their eclipse glasses on and were trying to capture the moment. But even if you weren’t looking at the actual eclipse you could definitely tell it was happening. 

“It was very, very cool. It got very cold when the moon covered the sun so that was not very fun, but it was very cool. Just the vibes were great,” said Camden Badenhuizen. 

Across town on Johnson Field at UNM, crowds came out to watch the eclipse too. 

“This is just a small, small telescope I use for astronomy, it’s portable. I have a little system here that lets me either look at it with my eye or send the light through to the camera,” said Jeff Myers. 

Myers says he knew he wanted to be here to watch the magical moment. 

“I came from New Jersey. I think it’s raining there today. So, we love the New Mexico skies and the weather. So we’re happy to be here,” said Myers.  

Hundreds of people brought their telescopes to the field to enjoy the view together. 

“I just enjoy sharing this experience with other people. Astronomy is a somewhat solitary hobby, so when you can be with 1,000 or 2,000 people, it’s a lot of fun,” Myers said. 

The moon passed in front of the sun creating a perfect ring of fire that lasted for almost five minutes. The eclipse started around 9:15 a.m. and ended around noon. 

The next annular eclipse won’t be until 2039, but the next total eclipse will be in April 2024.