(FOX40.COM) — Hundreds of people showed up to Sacramento State University’s “Ring of Fire” viewing party to get a glimpse of the annular solar event. The next major solar eclipse isn’t expected over Sacramento until 2071.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said local resident Johnny Danner. “When exotic things happen in the universe we want to be a part of it.”
An annular solar eclipse is a time when the moon is further from Earth and covers the sun, however, it doesn’t completely block out the sun. During the eclipse, the sunlight that shows around the moon appears as a ring.
Some people said they stay on the lookout for eclipses.
“We’re eclipse chasers. We saw the total eclipse in Madras, Oregon in 2017. We came to this one, and we’re headed to the one in Texas in April,” said Sacramento resident Ted Fong who was in attendance with his family. “We’re fascinated by the whole phenomenon of eclipses. It’s very supernatural as well as scientific. It’s very spiritual,” said Ted Fong.
Fong said he and nearly 60 family members usually turn eclipse events into reunions where they all get together to watch. He said he enjoyed the Sac State viewing party and being able to see the children and volunteers in attendance who were explaining what was happening in the sky.
“Intergenerational is good because that’s what it’s going to take to save our planet,” Fong said.
His wife agreed.
“I think more people should experience our awe instead of bad news all the time,” said Marielle Fong. “It’s good to look up once in a while instead of on our phones.”
Others also made the viewing party a family event.
“I saw an eclipse in upstate New York years ago, but never like this,” said Sheila Irving who showed up with some of her sisters and brothers. She said she also made some new friends on the campus which made the viewing even more special.
Others showed up on their own and said it was just as fun.
“I didn’t mind coming alone,” said Sacramento State graduate, Sydnie Hanson. “I really didn’t know what to expect, but this has been really cool. I’d come again.”
Another local resident made it to the party in the nick of time.
“I was sitting down having breakfast with my kids and we saw on the news that this was happening,” said Kim Schuckert who was there with her husband and two children. “We saw that it was starting in only a few minutes so we didn’t even finish eating. I wasn’t going to come, but they dragged me out. I’m glad we made it. It’s an amazing experience.”
Sacramento State President Dr. Luke Wood was in attendance with his children and said he was pleased with how many people showed up to the viewing party.
“This was an amazing turnout,” Wood said. “We’re an anchor institution which means we like to be engaged in the community, but we also bring the community to us.”
Adults and children of all ages were filled with excitement as they waited in line to use one of the campus telescopes for a clearer sight of the fiery eclipse.
“This is something that we always knew was going to happen. We’ve been planning this for two months,” said Sac State physics and astronomy lecturer Lara Lege. “I’m here teaching people how to use the telescopes. I’m just so thankful that so many people got the chance to come out and experience this.”