Millions Witness Total Solar Eclipse Across North America

The Moon blots out the Sun, as seen from Carbondale, Illinois. (Reuters: Evelyn Hockstein)

A total solar eclipse captivated millions across a heavily populated swath of North America as the Moon completely blocked the Sun for more than four minutes in some places.

The eclipse, viewable weather permitting, started in Mexico and crossed through the United States into Canada.

In Mexico, the city of Mazatlan witnessed the event, with cheers ringing out along the beach as the Moon passed over the Sun. People gathered, ready with equipment and listening to a youth orchestra play Star Wars songs.

In the United States, the Frontier Town campground in North Hudson, upstate New York, was a hub for eclipse watchers, with children wearing eclipse T-shirts and parents setting up for the spectacle.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau viewed the eclipse from Ottawa, Ontario.

US President Joe Biden posted a video encouraging Americans to wear eye protection when viewing the eclipse, subtly referencing his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who looked at the Sun without eye protection during the 2017 eclipse.

Overcast skies were a concern for eclipse watchers, as clear skies are essential for optimal viewing. However, many areas along the eclipse path experienced clear skies, allowing for a spectacular viewing experience.

Eclipse veterans described the moments leading up to totality as foreboding, with shadows becoming crisp and sunshine taking on an eerie quality. During totality, shadow bands and stars may appear, and wildlife often reacts to the sudden darkness.

This eclipse lasted almost twice as long as the one in 2017. (Reuters: Evelyn Hockstein)

This total eclipse, at up to 4 minutes and 28 seconds, lasted longer than the 2017 eclipse, which clocked in at up to 2 minutes and 42 seconds. According to NASA, total eclipses can last anywhere from 10 seconds to about 7-1/2 minutes.

The eclipse served as a reminder of the awe-inspiring beauty and precision of celestial events, captivating viewers across North America.