All about the Solar eclipse that has eclipsed Americans


    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.

    Millions of die-hard 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 was likely most heavily photographed and documented eclipse in modern times, thanks to the era of social media.

    The blackest part of the shadow, known as totality because the Moon blocks all the Sun’s light from the Earth, began over Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 1716 GMT.

    Crowds whooped and cheered at the first sign of darkness.

    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.

    “I’ve wanted to see one of these my whole life, since I’ve been studying astronomy, since I was a kid,” said Christine Sapio, a science professor.“I thought I was prepared for it — I totally wasn’t.”

    “I was shaking, I was crying. I was just totally taken aback by just how beautiful it was.”

    In Los Angeles, “oohs and aahs” emanated from the crowd of thousands gathered at the Griffith Observatory in the hills above the city as the partial eclipse began.

    Many had hiked to avoid massive traffic jams. Some watchers had fashioned their own pinhole projectors out of cardboard and scotch tape. Others watched while wearing special, dark solar eclipse glasses.

    ‘Just awesome’