Emotional sky-gazers stood transfixed across North America Monday as the Sun vanished behind the Moon in a rare total eclipse that swept the continent coast-to-coast for the first time in nearly a century, reports AFP.
Millions of eclipse chasers and amateur star watchers alike converged in cities along the path of totality, a 70-mile (113-kilometer) wide swath cutting through 14 US states, where the Moon briefly blocked out all light from the Sun.
“It was incredibly beautiful. I am moved to tears,” said Heather Riser, a 54-year-old librarian from Virginia, sitting on a blanket in Charleston’s grassy Waterfront Park where thousands had gathered to watch.
Festivals, rooftop parties, weddings, camping trips and astronomy meet-ups were held nationwide for what NASA predicted to be the most heavily photographed and documented eclipse in modern times, thanks to the era of social media.
The blackest part of the eclipse, known as totality because the Moon blocks all the Sun’s light from the Earth, began over Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 1716 GMT.
Just inland, more than 100,000 people gathered at Madras, Oregon—typically a town of 7,000 — in what experts described as perfect viewing conditions.
Crowds whooped and cheered at the first sign of darkness.