Albuquerque was at center of Sunday’s annular solar eclipse
I can only imagine what ancient peoples must have thought when, on a normal day, the sun’s gleaming light began to grow dim and shift to orangey gold as if it were setting while still high in the sky. Even today, with the human race’s amassed knowledge of the motions of heavenly bodies readily available, the sight of the ever-gorgeous New Mexican landscape takes on a unique, surreal beauty under a solar eclipse.
Anyone in or around Albuquerque was fortunate enough to have an enviable view of the full annular eclipse this past Sunday; I had the very rare privilege of viewing the event from the top of the northernmost volcano at Petroglyph National Monument. The commute from Socorro, though long, was worth it. From the top of that hill, the view was immaculate — nothing but desert plains as far as the eye could see, a few clouds, which only served to reflect the spectacular colors and make the scene more gorgeous, and a stunning view of the whole event from first contact to sunset.
When at last the moment came when the two bodies aligned, the view was tremendous. Those ancient peoples of which I spoke would have only seen the sun dim drastically, and that was a gorgeous sight on its own; directly, though, the sun was a perfect ring of burning orange around a black disc. But the finest sight I saw that evening was the sun as it set still partially eclipsed. Any sunset in New Mexico is a singular beauty, a study in yellow-golds and oranges and purples and blues. This single sunset, though, was darker and more brilliant than any other I’ve seen. What would have been gold was now a rich orange, and what would have been orange shifted almost to red. The purples were richer and darker and more vivid than any others I’ve seen in the sky.
I’ve read that there are huge groups of people who travel across the globe to find the best spots from which to watch solar eclipses. After the epic of color and light that painted New Mexico on Sunday, I can see why.