HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Some folks in the Tennessee Valley made it outside in time to catch the annular solar eclipse.

For about three hours the sun could be seen at 55% totality in the Rocket City and the University of Alabama in Huntsville held a special event to allow people to see it up close and with the proper equipment.

The galileoscope telescope was just one device spectators could look through to see the magic take place.

“It gives a closer view,” explained Keyvan Ghandari with UAH. “The fact that it has some filters on it and we can use this funnel, it prevents our eyes from being hurt because of the direct sunlight that can hurt our eyes.”

During an annular solar eclipse, also known as the “ring of fire”, the sun leaves a ring of sunlight shining behind the moon, which still makes it dangerous to look at directly. For those who didn’t use the galileoscope, they could pick up solar viewers to help view the eclipse safely.

The event was meant for more than just viewing. There were detailed explanations to explain the science behind the eclipse.

This type of eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth at its farthest point from Earth. This makes the Moon appear smaller than the Sun and does not completely block it.

Some students were excited to see what they learned in textbooks play out in the real world.

“I was super excited because I learned it in science and then figured out that we were going to have one today and I was super excited to see it,” Austin Barber told News 19.

A narrow line between Oregon and Texas created some of the only places where the full extent of the eclipse was visible.

The next annular solar eclipse will take place on April 8, 2024.