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Total solar eclipse 2017: Millions in US get first glimpse of totality

On Monday, when a total solar eclipse sweeps across the United States for the first time in 99 years, people gathering in Charleston, South Carolina, will be the last on the continent to experience it.

world Updated: Aug 21, 2017 23:56 IST
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A woman looks through a telescope on the football field at Madras High School the evening before a solar eclipse in Madras, Oregon, U.S., August 20, 2017. Picture taken August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Redmond(REUTERS)

Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and protective glasses on Monday as the moon began blotting out the midday sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the US from coast to coast in nearly a century.

“The show has just begun, people! What a gorgeous day! Isn’t this great, people?” Jim Todd, a director at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, told a crowd of thousands at an amphitheater in Salem, Oregon, as the moon seemed to take an ever-bigger bite out of the sun.

A crowd wears protective glasses as they watch the beginning of the solar eclipse from Salem, Ore., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) (AP)

The projected path of totality was 60 to 70 miles (96 to 113 kilometers) wide, running diagonally across the continent from Oregon to South Carolina, with darkness lasting only about two to three minutes in any one spot.

The Earth, moon and sun line up perfectly every one to three years, briefly turning day into night for a sliver of the planet. But these sights normally are in no man’s land, like the vast Pacific or Earth’s poles. This is the first eclipse of the social media era to pass through such a heavily populated area.

Scientists warned people not to look into the sun without protection, except when the sun is 100 percent covered. Otherwise, to avoid eye damage, keep the solar specs on or use pinhole projectors that can cast an image of the eclipse into a box.

People across the US have shared pictures of them trying to spot the eclipse. Others gave a humorous twist to the eclipse. Check out the wittiest reactions on Twitter:

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 23:56 IST