Solar eclipse draws millions of skywatchers across North America | News | DW | 21.08.2017
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Solar eclipse draws millions of skywatchers across North America

A total solar eclipse has completed its path from coast-to-coast across the United States. Millions of people observed the rare celestial event.

Watch video 00:50

Total eclipse of the sun

The moon slowly drifted across the sun before blocking out its rays in a total eclipse starting on the US west coast on Monday, as a rare cosmic event moved across continental the United States.

The first visible sign of the total eclipse was observed in Oregon at around 10:15 am (17:19 GMT). 

The total eclipse zone then moved across 14 states ending in South Carolina Monday afternoon, taking in all about two hours.

Some 12 million people live within the 113-kilometer-wide (70-mile-wide), 4,000-kilometer-long (2,500-mile-long) total eclipse line, while several million people also traveled into the total eclipse's path.

Totality, when the moon moves in front of the sun until it blocks all light except its outer atmosphere, or corona, lasted two minutes at each point along the eclipse route. It began over Lincoln Beach, Oregon at around 17:16 GMT.

A partial solar eclipse was also visible across the US and large parts of Canada and Mexico.

President Donald Trump watched a partial solar eclipse blocking 81 percent of the sun from the White House, the administration said.

Trump admires the eclipse without glasses

Despite the known risks of looking straight into the sun, not everyone could resist

NASA also covered the event for those unable to see it first hand. The space agency reported that some 4.4 million tuned in to watch its livestream event. 

Read: A very bried history of total solar eclipses

Read: Animals turn a blind eye to solar eclipse

It is the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the United States in nearly a century. It is also the first total eclipse visible from the contiguous United States since 1979. The next solar eclipse in the US will be in 2024, although the next coast-to-coast eclipse won't be until 2045. 

cw/bk (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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