Solar eclipse 2017: Millions watch once-in-a-lifetime spectacle - the best images
Total solar eclipse sweeps across the US
Millions of Americans armed with protective glasses have marvelled at the first total solar eclipse to unfold from coast to coast in the US in nearly a century.
Day turned to night for two minutes during the eclipse, visible in a 70-mile-wide (113-km-wide), 2,500-mile-long (4,000-km-long) zone in the US, drawing one of the largest audiences in human history.
The last time such a spectacle unfolded from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast was in 1918. The last total eclipse seen anywhere in the United States took place in 1979.
The Canadian Space Agency described the initial glimpses of the eclipse as "Beautiful!" as Americans watched in wonder through telescopes, cameras and protective glasses.
US President Donald Trump watched from the Whitehouse alongside First Lady Melania while his daughter Ivanka and rock star Bruce Springsteen were among the excited big names who had tweeted advice that watchers should remember to wear their glasses when looking at the spectacle.
They saw the moon blot out the sun, cause a drop in temperature and turn daylight into twilight. It is expected to be the most observed and most photographed eclipse in history.
Nasa Moon, NASA's official Twitter account about Earth's Moon, said: "HA HA HA I've blocked the Sun! Make way for the Moon. £SolarEclipse2017" while Hopkinsville Police in Kentucky, which saw solar enthusiasts descend on the town, tweeted "Please DO NOT call 911 just because your Wi-Fi service is not working."
Dr Francisco Diego of University College London described each eclipse is "unique", saying that it "steals your soul and it happens in complete silence".
He told BBC News: "You cannot anticipate how spectacular this is.
"You are going to be in a landscape in a normal day and suddenly in a matter of minutes in the last part of the approach, a matter of seconds, this shadow of the moon is going to cover the entire landscape and you are being plunged into darkness. You can see planets like Venus and Mercury and bright stars, there is twilight all around you and that happens so quickly. "
Gloomy skies scuppered the chances of many Britons who wanted to see a partial solar eclipse on Monday evening.
The movement of the moon between the Earth and sun produced a dramatic event in the US but Britons had hoped to see the moon appear to take a "bite" out of the sun just before sunset.
Devon, Cornwall and the south coast of Dorset may have got a glimpse of the partial eclipse as about 5% of the sun was covered, according to Met Office forecaster Luke Miall.
He said: "The only place that had seen the partial eclipse was on the south coast of Weymouth which had a good show, but for the the majority of the country it was too cloudy."
Giraffes go wild at zoo
The giraffes ran in circles. The flamingos huddled together. And the rhinos just looked confused.
At the Nashville Zoo, visitors watched and recorded how the animals behaved when the sky turned dark during Monday's total solar eclipse. And there was plenty to see when the moon slipped in front of the sun.
The only trouble was with 7,000 visitors and lots of noise - drowning out the zoo animals, crickets and cicadas - zookeepers still have to figure whether the strange behaviour was from the eclipse or the people there to watch the show.
— Jason Gonzales (@ByJasonGonzales) August 21, 2017
The giraffes, especially six-month-old Mazi and 3-year-old Nasha, were the stars at the zoo.
"They're crazy running around," said Nate Zatezalo, who came from Cleveland, where he volunteers at the zoo there.
During the full eclipse, all four giraffes ran. That's not unusual for the two juveniles who scamper at twilight after the crowds leave. But the father giraffe, Congo, "usually doesn't do anything other than being the dad" and is regal and above it all, said zoo volunteer Stephan Foust. But even the above-it-all dad got in on the running during darkness.
Zookeepers reported that before totality the orangutans climbed to the highest heights they've ever gone.
Teresa Morehead of Indianapolis came to the zoo to help track the animals on an app called iNaturalist.
She staked out the giraffes and rhinos. The rhinos wandered a bit, seeming to head to bed.
"I was surprised to the see they were running,'" she said, although noting that they seemed more confused than anything.
A South Carolina couple has welcomed a baby girl whom they named for the celestial event that had millions across the country on the edge of their seats.
Freedom Eubanks told The Greenville News she feared the labor pains she felt Monday were another false alarm, but the contractions grew stronger and she knew her baby was on the way. Her only concern: was the baby coming right away or on Tuesday?
On their way to Greenville Memorial Hospital, Eubanks and her husband, Michael, decided that if their daughter arrived on the day of the eclipse, then that would be her name.
Baby Eclipse was born at 8:04 a.m., weighing 6-pound, 3-ounces and with a full head of hair.
When is the next total solar eclipse?
The 'Great American Eclipse' captivated millions around the world - it was the most-observed and most-photographed eclipse in history.
However, if you missed it, do not despair: the next eclipse takes place on July 2, 2019 - crossing Chile and Argentina.
And Americans won't have to wait long for the next US eclipse - an event that many scientists believe will be even more impressive than Monday's natural wonder.
Here's all you need to know about future eclipses.
Eclipse seen mid-flight
A passenger has apparently captured the eclipse during a flight.
Wow, someone caught the #SolarEclipse2017 mid flight! Breathtaking. ❤️pic.twitter.com/gzNCNiaWVR
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) August 21, 2017
Assange weighs in
Stop mocking Donald Trump for not wearing protective glasses - according to Julian Assange, it's all a conspiracy anyway.
There's no danger staring directly at the moon during a total eclipse. Before/after, the moon only partly covers the sun = usual sun danger.
— Julian Assange �� (@JulianAssange) August 21, 2017
You look away when you see it ending. Eyes also move to protect themselves. The hysteria seems to be sustained by glasses company profits.
— Julian Assange �� (@JulianAssange) August 21, 2017
How celebrities celebrated the eclipse
Kim Kardashian shared a rare picture of her kids ahead of the eclipse.
Total eclipse of the heart pic.twitter.com/Ng8TuPk7wH
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) August 21, 2017
Katy Perry shared a picture of some makeshift eclipse-watching glasses.
sleeping through the eclipse tomorrow just to be different ok (@lindley.ricky)
A post shared by KATY PERRY (@katyperry) on Aug 20, 2017 at 9:02pm PDT
Gigi Hadid shared a picture that recalled the last solar eclipse in the US.
A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) on Aug 21, 2017 at 10:11am PDT
Elizabeth Banks of the Hunger Games referenced Game of Thrones in her post.
Now that I've exalted in the #SolarEclipse2017, I'm ready to take on the rest of this week like pic.twitter.com/y9b9obPoIp
— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) August 21, 2017
Countdown to 'goatality'
Total eclipses are well known to send birds swooping back to their nests, but as part of its wall-to-wall coverage - the Washington Post set out to test another wildlife-and-astronomy theory: do they make fainting goats faint?
It did so by livestreaming from a farm in Tennessee that rears the breed of livestock - known for freezing stiff and toppling over when panicked, and as such already the stars of a host of viral videos.
While millions sat glued to TV footage of the natural wonder unfolding in real-time, many more kept an amused eye on the Post's tongue-in-cheek countdown to "goatality."
Was the flock startled? Hard to tell since the screen turned pitch-black... but the question was eventually settled with a tweet from the paper.
Update: No goats fainted.
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 21, 2017
Newspapers mock Trump over eclipse
The New York Daily News poked fun at Donald Trump for looking directly at the eclipse without a pair of protective glasses.
A White House aide in the crowd below shouted “Don’t look!” right as @POTUS looked.
Our #SolarEclipse Edition: https://t.co/l0NO46gCGNpic.twitter.com/x0ToMxtXnU
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) August 21, 2017
And the Daily Mail mocked the president's perma-tan.
MAIL: Banks abandon the High Street #tomorrowspaperstodaypic.twitter.com/qtFxmt6EvU
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) August 21, 2017
Bonnie Tyler sings Total Eclipse of the Heart on cruise ship to celebrate solar eclipse
Lady Gaga: 'Take me to your planet'
A post shared by xoxo, Gaga (@ladygaga) on Aug 21, 2017 at 10:50am PDT
Eclipse reaches France
Great image of the partial eclipse over the Saint-They Chapel:
Meteosat captures unique eclipse images
Unique view of the #Eclipse from #Meteosat
Dark patch on left of pic is Moon's shadow! Bright area nearby is sun shining off the Atlantic. pic.twitter.com/6SgmHc0DqU
— Simon Proud (@simon_rp84) August 21, 2017
Britons left underwhelmed by partial solar eclipse
As millions across America witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime full solar eclipse, UK sky watchers were left disappointed by what they were able to see.
Weather experts had promised a partial solar eclipse in the UK, with the moon appearing to take a "bite" out of the sun in a phenomenon lasting roughly 40 minutes.
However, many were left underwhelmed and unable to see anything at all due to the cloud cover blocking their view.
Barron Trump joins Donald and Melania to watch total eclipse from the White House
The Bush presidents and family enjoy the moment
Four generations of family taking in the partial eclipse today. Already looking forward to the next one in Texas in 2024! pic.twitter.com/3iSPh9iydA
— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) August 21, 2017
Moon trolls sun on Twitter in solar cyber spat
As if a solar eclipse was not enough, the moon threw some virtual shade at the sun on Twitter on Monday, as millions of people watched the first coast-to-coast total eclipse in the United States in nearly a century.
"HA HA HA I've blocked the Sun!" wrote NASA Moon (@NASAMoon) on its verified Twitter account, which was created by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. "Make way for the Moon. #SolarEclipse2017."
HA HA HA I’ve blocked the Sun! Make way for the Moon. #SolarEclipse2017pic.twitter.com/nZCoqBlSTe
— NASA Moon (@NASAMoon) August 21, 2017
The tweet was accompanied with a screenshot photo showing that the moon had blocked the verified Twitter profile of NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun). The sun's response was swift.
"Uh EXCUSE me?!? #solareclipse2017," tweeted @NASASun.
uh, EXCUSE me?!? #solareclipse2017https://t.co/T1WDs2JEdi
— NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) August 21, 2017
Trump watches the eclipse
US President Trump watches the solar eclipse with first Lady Melania Trump and son Barron from the Truman Balcony at the White House in Washington.
'It was wonderful - and I wish I could do it again'
Millions of Americans looked skyward in wonder through protective glasses, telescopes and cameras at the eclipse.
The eclipse drew whoops and cheers from onlookers in Depoe Bay, Oregon, near where "totality" - the shadow created by the sun's disappearance - started.
"It just kind of tickled you all over - it was wonderful - and I wish I could do it again," said Stormy Shreves, 57, a fish gutter who lives in Depoe Bay.
"But I won't see something like that ever again, so I'm really glad I took the day off work so I could experience it."
"It was incredible," said Cheryl Laroche, 57, who with her husband, Rob, joined other observers at Roshambo ArtFarm in Sheridan, Oregon. "It was literally cold and dark. The light was blue."
Nancy Conway, 57, an elementary school principal, said she and her family made the drive to Charleston from Lynn, Massachusetts.
"Twenty hours, three drivers, four adults, two 6-year-old twins," Conway said as she sat in a lawn chair facing the harbor. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Millions watch the eclipse
Americans cheered as the total solar eclipse spread across the country.
Here’s Bonnie Tyler singing Total Eclipse of the Heart on a cruise ship
The perfect way to celebrate a solar eclipse ...
Bonnie Tyler just sang “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on CNN from a cruise ship https://t.co/JwV2ZUOJYZ#SolarEclipse2017pic.twitter.com/s1Z1jlGryn
— CNN (@CNN) August 21, 2017
The best eclipse photos on social media
Twitter users have been sharing their eclipse photos:
Occulted and beautiful Sol + Moon #SolarEclipse2017
Space weather is active. pic.twitter.com/pKinQgnFgn
— Brian Roemmele (@BrianRoemmele) August 21, 2017
Damn. The Moon can block better than my O-Line.. #SolarEclipse2017pic.twitter.com/RfdgsvXtJW
— Elite Andy Dalton (@EvilAndyDalton) August 21, 2017
#SolarEclipse2017: And there it is ladies and gentlemen. Looking gorgeous in Madras, Oregon: pic.twitter.com/fcJtg9MJ0t
— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 21, 2017
I’m on the Path Of Totality in Madras, Oregon and the eclipse is out of control #solareclipse2017pic.twitter.com/8bTk5nWTuJ
— Kmarko (@Kmarkobarstool) August 21, 2017
SO FREAKING COOL! #SolarEclipse2017pic.twitter.com/YlasoWdfXu
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) August 21, 2017
The sun's 'disappearing' act - the solar eclipse
Latest eclipse images
Nick Allen reports from Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Hordes of people have descended on a field in Kentucky from around America and the world, many clutching eclipse glasses.
Next to an array of space age Nasa contraptions, Ona The Voodoo Bone Lady of New Orleans, holding her slithering Chinese rat snakes Damballah and Ellegua, awaits the eclipse.
Ona the Voodoo Bone Lady of New Orleans prepares for #eclipse in Kentucky. She's not sure how her snakes will react pic.twitter.com/qamZZXiQcx
— nick allen (@nickallen789) August 21, 2017
"An eclipse generates a huge amount of energy which can be used for whatever purposes," said Ona, explaining why she had driven nine hours from New Orleans.
"Voodoo can be positive. There is so much hate and discord in the world now and I want to use it to pray for people."
As she prepared to channel the eclipse's energy Matt Bevin, The Governor of Kentucky, arrived in the field by helicopter.
"I'm just excited that the perfect place to watch it is right here in our state," he said.
"For me, as a big kid, this is fun. I think we've got room for a couple million more people, it's great for the economy."
Around Hopkinsville residents have been enthusiastically cashing in, renting out their homes, gardens and fields to campers for suitably stratospheric sums.
There has also been indications of eclipse-induced religious fervor in the Bible Belt state. A sign outside one Baptist church read: "The eclipse is coming. So is Jesus!"
Sign at a Baptist church near the point of greatest eclipse in Kentucky pic.twitter.com/6SXO6W0ali
— nick allen (@nickallen789) August 21, 2017
Right now the sun looks like my favorite Moon Pie with a bite taken out of it.��
— EconChick/IntelChick (@MikayesFiona) August 21, 2017
Wtf the sun is starting to look like PAC man ������
— rey rey (@rodriguezreyes_) August 21, 2017
The sun looks like the Apple sign rn
— Ver (@BadWifeAE) August 21, 2017
The Cookie Monster would be very happy with this eclipse! The sun looks like a cookie that the moon is eating.
— Rabbi Ruti Regan (@RutiRegan) August 21, 2017
Eclipse excitement builds
It's almost time for the Great American Eclipse! Millions have gathered to watch the rare astronomical event.
Here are the latest images:
Matt on the solar eclipse
The Telegraph's cartoonist Matt predicts what Donald Trump might tweet about the eclipse:
See more of the best of Matt from the last 20 years here.
Can we reschedule?
One mother asked if the solar eclipse could be rescheduled. Sorry, but no can do.
Sorry, guys. We have to reschedule the eclipse because it conflicts with this person's schedule. pic.twitter.com/ae72z3sUgQ
— Juli Caldwell (@ImJuliCaldwell) August 8, 2017
'Lord, give us a sign'
Eclipse signs have been spotted on churches and motorways:
The second darkest day since November 8th. #TrumpResign#SolarEclipse2017pic.twitter.com/Vszttzu8g2
— ImpeachTrump (@dumptrump33) August 21, 2017
I'll be looking for a sign TODAY at 1:00pm...#Eclipse#trump#trumpresign#notmypresident#fakepresident#MAGApic.twitter.com/9QzwTFU0nX
— El Militante (@blakfst) August 21, 2017
Great Eclipse traffic signs. Thankyou Nashville for being so well prepared to host the Great American Eclipse! #Nashville#nashvilleeclipsepic.twitter.com/NZsfAr7oLZ
— Edith Wilson (@edithwilsonnj) August 21, 2017
#Eclipse highway warning signs across Maryland @cbsbaltimorepic.twitter.com/A0RePpmlGF
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) August 21, 2017
Nasa 'excited' about the eclipse
Nasa has a mobile command centre at Orchardale Farm in Kentucky.
"This is the hotspot," said Joe Matus of Nasa's Marshall Space Flight Center.
"There are going to be some really great prominences, flames coming from behind the moon, that we'll see from here.
"It's actually my first total eclipse and I'm pretty excited. If it's just a few clouds it won't matter. I'm hoping for blue skies and a clear view."
The QI Elves chip in with some British humour
Who needs eclipse glasses? But remember, never look directly at the Sun, even through sunglasses or dark material.
Forgot to buy eclipse glasses? At a pinch, you can use a Ritz cracker as a pinhole camera. (Photo: Mark Taylor.) #eclipsepic.twitter.com/DA4Opco9OK
— The QI Elves (@qikipedia) August 21, 2017
— Dan (@Dan_Of_Iniquity) August 21, 2017
Please don't use a Ritz cracker to look at the sun. This could cause permanent damage to your eyes.
— Ian Perkin (@Thrustnicely) August 21, 2017
That's taking the biscuit.
— Leslie Krupp (@LeslieKrupp) August 21, 2017
Total Eclipse of the Heart
Eighties pop icon Bonnie Tyler will perform her hit single 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' on a cruise ship during the solar eclipse. Yes, you read that right.
A fitting tribute to the rare astronomical event…
Overcast skies threaten to block views
Gloomy skies are set to stop Britons seeing a partial solar eclipse, forecasters have warned.
Met Office forecaster Martin Bowles said: "It doesn't look very promising. "It is only going to be about 4% of the sun which will be blotted out, so even if it is perfect weather conditions you won't see a lot.
"From a meteorological point of view it is not looking very good because of the cloud - most people won't be able to see a thing.
"There will be some breaks in the cloud in the south-west of the country - South Wales and south-west England - there will be enough breaks that people who are looking specifically might be able to see a little chip out of the corner of the sun.
"Anywhere in the east, including London, won't see anything because it will just be clouded over; also Scotland and Northern Ireland."
I was hoping to see partial eclipse here in the uk but its cloudy and raining ����
— Leanne-Marie ⭐☄�� (@LeanneMarie881) August 21, 2017
It's way too cloudy in the UK for the eclipse to be seen from here.
— Denis (@AlienDenzil85) August 21, 2017
The exact "point of the greatest eclipse"
The Telegraph's US Correspondent Nick Allen is at the exact point of the greatest eclipse for us in a field in Kentucky, where farmer Mark Cansler is the official winner of the cosmic lottery.
According to Nasa the point of greatest eclipse is at the GPS coordinates 36.9664 north, 87.6709 west, about 11 miles outside the town of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. It will go dark for more that 2mins 40secs.
The exact spot is next to an old hay barn in a field owned by Mr Cansler. It's a 70-acre farm and has been in his family since before 1900 and used to be an apple orchard.
This barn in a farmer's field in Kentucky is the point of greatest eclipse pic.twitter.com/VS70EnYLi8
— nick allen (@nickallen789) August 21, 2017
The field itself is fallow and after much deliberation Mr Cansler decided to allow people, including NASA, to watch the eclipse from it.
Sheltering from the heat in his barn Mr Cansler told The Telegraph: "It's hot here in Kentucky so we mostly spend our time looking for shade, not looking at the sun.
"About 10 years ago the local paper had a story that this would be the biggest place for totality. We didn't think much about it. Then as the years went by we realised how big an event it was going to be.
"We were fortunate to be in a position where the field was fallow so it was a good opportunity to allow the educational folks, like Nasa, to come and be in the field and share it with everybody.
"It's become something really big for the entire area. It's going to be something very special. I just hope everyone's safe and it's good weather. Looks like it will be."
Why the total solar eclipse is so special
"People may see the stars come out in the daytime," says Affelia Wibisono, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.
Could the Great American Eclipse signal the start of the apocalypse? Probably not, however some conspiracy theorists believe it could be the beginning of the end.
David Meade, author of 'Planet X – The 2017 Arrival', asserts the planet Nibiru (also known as Planet X) will crash into our own on 23 September 2017 - here’s why.
This may prove that the whole Planet X(Nibiru) is real, if we can see another light source that is clearly not the sun next to the eclipse
— Justin Skedel (@JustinRSkedel) August 21, 2017
Christian numerologists say #eclipse will make planet Nibiru crash into Earth and now I wish I bought $12 eclipse glasses instead of $8 ones pic.twitter.com/6SOvZyO4Wo
— Ryan Adams (@filmystic) August 20, 2017
When will the next total solar eclipse be visible in the UK?
You’ll be waiting a few years. Britain won’t see a total solar eclipse until September 23, 2090.
So, a bit of a wait then …
Don't worry everyone, we can see a Total #Eclipse in the UK on the 23rd September 2090. pic.twitter.com/hgdnr1KI4a
— Hadlow College (@Hadlow_College) August 21, 2017
Oh good, not long to wait then.
— Jσє Sнєρραя∂ #TeamLH (@BladeThundrbolt) August 21, 2017
Can't believe we won't be able to see the #Eclipse today in Europe �������� it's okay, just have to wait until 2090...
— Ethan King (@ethanaaronking) August 21, 2017
The next total solar eclipse visible in the UK will be on the 23rd of September 2090. Late afternoon. Clear your diaries. #Eclipse
— Alexander Sabin (@ADASabin93) August 20, 2017
Public service announcement: drive safely
A post shared by swami1888 (@swami1888) on Aug 20, 2017 at 7:54am PDT
Test your knowledge
Where to see the eclipse in the UK
Tens of thousands of people have descended on small towns positioned for the best viewing of the eclipse. Some brought telescopes, some brought the party...
The jokes have already started
... And they're totally awful
A post shared by Kelsey Hart (@hart.kelseymusic) on Aug 20, 2017 at 9:58am PDT
Found some eclipse glasses at Walmart pic.twitter.com/AiLRNUI9Pe
— robert collins (@StizzyAbe) August 21, 2017
Terry Pratchett fans rejoice, the Discworld has delivered a flipping good graphic...
Don't panic everyone, here's what we think is happening! #Eclipse#Eclipse2017#Discworld#TerryPratchettpic.twitter.com/DgZiFbn154
— Discworld Emporium (@Discworldshoppe) August 21, 2017
Welcome to Eclipseville, Kentucky
The Telegraph's US Correspondent Nick Allen is in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, the 'point of greatest eclipse', eagerly awaiting the big moment. He reports:
As she served hundreds of "lunar lattes" in a coffee shop in the unusually chaotic rural Kentucky town of Hopkinsville, Amanda Huff-McClure kept a wary eye out the window. On the horizon several clouds loomed.
A decade ago Hopkinsville, an otherwise little known former tobacco town, won the cosmic lottery. Nasa declared it would be the "point of greatest eclipse" as a 70-mile swathe of the United States, from Oregon to South Carolina, goes dark on Monday.
It is the first total solar eclipse in the US since 1979 and Hopkinsville, or "Eclipseville USA", as it is now widely known, will experience an unrivaled 2 mins 41.2 secs of totality.
The town has busily spent the last 10 years preparing to cash in like crazy, with up to 200,000 visitors set descend on it down a two-lane road. Vast quantities of "Total Eclipse Moonshine" with the slogan "Lights Out!" have been brewed.
Homes are reputedly being rented out for $10,000, parking spots for $250. The economic boost for a town that needs it has been estimated at $30 million.
Where to see the eclipse if you're in America..