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In pictures: moon blots sun out of the sky in historic eclipse

Narrow corridor in US experiences full eclipse while rest of N. and S. America treated to partial eclipse.
Updated Aug 22, 2017 12:15am

Millions of Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the United States from coast to coast in nearly a century.

It promised to be the most observed and photographed eclipse in history, with many Americans staking out prime viewing spots and settling onto blankets and lawn chairs to watch, especially along the path of totality the line of deep shadow created when the sun is completely obscured except for the delicate ring of light known as the corona.

The shadow, a corridor just 96 to 113 kilometres wide, came ashore in Oregon and then began travelling diagonally across the heartland to South Carolina, with darkness from the totality lasting only around two to three minutes in any one spot.

The rest of North America was treated to a partial eclipse, as were Central American and the top of South America.

The next total solar eclipse in the US will be in 2024. The next coast-to-coast one will not be until 2045.

The total solar eclipse is viewed from Charleston, South Carolina, on August 21, 2017. — AFP
The total solar eclipse is viewed from Charleston, South Carolina, on August 21, 2017. — AFP

The moon almost eclipses the sun during a near total solar eclipse as seen from Salem, Oregon. ─ AP
The moon almost eclipses the sun during a near total solar eclipse as seen from Salem, Oregon. ─ AP

The sun's corona is visible as the moon passes in front of the sun during a total solar eclipse at Big Summit Prairie ranch in Oregon's Ochoco National Forest near the city of Mitchell, USA.—AFP
The sun's corona is visible as the moon passes in front of the sun during a total solar eclipse at Big Summit Prairie ranch in Oregon's Ochoco National Forest near the city of Mitchell, USA.—AFP

This NASA handout photo shows the Diamond Ring effect seen as the moon makes its final move over the sun during the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. ─ AFP
This NASA handout photo shows the Diamond Ring effect seen as the moon makes its final move over the sun during the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. ─ AFP

A view of the solar eclipse at the Solar Temples at Big Summit Prairie ranch in Oregon's Ochoco National Forest.—AFP
A view of the solar eclipse at the Solar Temples at Big Summit Prairie ranch in Oregon's Ochoco National Forest.—AFP

A Mexican woman looks through a telescope at the beginning of the solar eclipse, at the esplanade of the Museum of Natural History in Mexico City, Mexico.—AFP
A Mexican woman looks through a telescope at the beginning of the solar eclipse, at the esplanade of the Museum of Natural History in Mexico City, Mexico.—AFP

People make pinhole eclipse viewers in the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum on the National Mall before an eclipse August 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. — AFP
People make pinhole eclipse viewers in the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum on the National Mall before an eclipse August 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. — AFP

People pose with special eclipse glasses outside the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum on the National Mall before an eclipse August 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. — AFP
People pose with special eclipse glasses outside the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum on the National Mall before an eclipse August 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. — AFP

People watch the start of the solar eclipse at Big Summit Prairie ranch in Oregon's Ochoco National Forest.—AFP
People watch the start of the solar eclipse at Big Summit Prairie ranch in Oregon's Ochoco National Forest.—AFP

Annie Gray Penuel and Lauren Peck, both of Dallas, wear their makeshift eclipse glasses at Nashville's eclipse viewing party ahead of the solar eclipse at First Tennessee Park.— AP
Annie Gray Penuel and Lauren Peck, both of Dallas, wear their makeshift eclipse glasses at Nashville's eclipse viewing party ahead of the solar eclipse at First Tennessee Park.— AP

A crowd gathers in front of the Hollywood sign at the Griffith Observatory to watch the solar eclipse in Los Angeles. — AP
A crowd gathers in front of the Hollywood sign at the Griffith Observatory to watch the solar eclipse in Los Angeles. — AP

Dan Blanchette and his son, Sam, 6, watch the final phases of a total solar eclipse in Salem, Oregon, USA.—AP
Dan Blanchette and his son, Sam, 6, watch the final phases of a total solar eclipse in Salem, Oregon, USA.—AP