New Brunswickers got a rare view of a partial eclipse of the sun on Monday, and many gathered in public squares and parks to watch the event.

Almost 200 people visited Montgomery and College Hill in Fredericton, where the University of New Brunswick's physics department held one of several public viewing events in the province.

They gazed through telescopes, cameras and protective glasses as the moon obscured a little more than half of the sun.

"It's not an event that happens very often so it's neat to see," said Dan Trojand, a young astronomer.

He is already planning a trip to South America in 2019 to see a total solar eclipse, which will be visible in the South Pacific, Chile or Argentina.

Part of the U.S. were able to see the complete eclipse on Monday, during which the moon fully covered the sun for a total of two minutes.

The Earth, moon and sun only line up perfectly every one to three years. But these events can rarely be seen in populated areas.

In New Brunswick, the sun blocked out only 58 per cent of the sun in the western part, and slightly less in the north and east.

Solar Eclipse views in Fredericton0:39

Still, many of those participating in UNB's public viewing were impressed.

Mary Cherrington said she saw her last eclipse in 1995, but it got her hooked.

"I just wanted to see it," she said.

The next total solar eclipse will be visible in New Brunswick on April 8, 2024.

Bradley Guislain already plans to not only see it, but celebrate his birthday at the same time, which falls on April 8.

"I guess I'm pretty special, I always had a suspicion though," he laughed.

With files from Catherine Harrop, The Associated Press