Solar eclipse 2017: the Americans gazing at the sky spectacular

A total eclipse of the sun has stolen the hearts of AMERICANS.

A huge shadow projected by the Moon when it is placed in front of the Sun has swept the nation, from Oregon, to the west of South Carolina, to the east.

Millions of people are displaced to enter the path of darkness, to put their safety glasses in order to contemplate the sky in wonder.

It was the first total eclipse of the sun visible from the America of the lower 48 states for 38 years, and the first since 1918, in the track of the coast to coast.
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Reuters

The show really began in Oregon at 10:16 local time (17:16 GMT; 18:16 BST).

Skywatchers gathered in coastal, the beaches and the cities saw the Sun\’s disk is completely occulted by the Moon for two minutes.

But just before and just after “the whole”, they also got to see some of the classic characteristics of a solar eclipse.

These included “Baily\’s beads” which arise on the occasion of the last shafts of sunlight on a drive through valleys on the Moon; and the “Diamond Ring”, which is the only bright dot of light that signals the beginning and end of totality.

In Oregon, the eclipse of the shadow ran through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. It was a trip that took about 90 minutes.

The EPA

NASA

The small towns along the way have been flooded with visitors. And the National Parks.

In Carbondale, Illinois, the city authorities charged to their locality as the “Eclipse Crossroads of America”, since it benefits from the full to the times on Monday and when the next eclipse occurs in 2024.

As expected, Carbondale turned out to be a huge magnet to skywatchers who makes good use of the more than 60 000 additional parking spaces organized for the day.

The region has also had the privilege to enjoy the longest period of darkness anywhere in the country at just over two minutes and 40 seconds.

Getty Images

The coastal areas of the Atlantic of the city of Charleston is the place in charge to say goodbye to the eclipse. Bathers suffered the shadow at 14:48 local time (18:48 GMT; 19:48 BST).

Although the US has exclusive rights on the totality, a partial eclipse has been visible across all of North America, ranging beyond the Canadian Arctic; as well as in northern South America to Bolivia.

In Washington DC, President Donald Trump, the First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron, made sure they had goggles as they looked towards the sky.

METEOSAT 2017/Processed by @simon_rp84

The parties of western Europe have also been put to the Moon, take a piece of the Sun to the end of the day just before the star dipped below the horizon.

It was just a small bite, but in some parts of France and the Canary Islands, where the clouds were scarce, it was no less a spectacle.

For those outside the path of the Moon\’s shadow, or suffocated by the bad weather, there is always the internet.

The us space agency (Nasa) released images from many points of view, including from a series of helium-filled balloons.

Some of the most spectacular shots of the day came from the orbit.

The astronaut, the Italian Paolo Nespoli looked down on the displacement of the shadow from the International Space Station.

And from their “stationary” position some 36,000 km above the planet, weather satellites, also returned some stunning images.

The next total eclipse of the sun on the Earth is the July 2, 2019, in the South Pacific, Chile, Argentina. Try our solar eclipse calculator

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Simon Wilson

Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and follow me on Twitter: @BBCAmos