Solar eclipse 2017: Millions watch once-in-a-lifetime spectacle - the best images

Louise Burke

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.

Great American eclipse, in pictures

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."

 

3:21AM

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.

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.

2:33AM

Baby Eclipse

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.

2:22AM

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. 

1:11AM

Eclipse seen mid-flight

A passenger has apparently captured the eclipse during a flight. 

12:51AM

Assange weighs in

Stop mocking Donald Trump for not wearing protective glasses - according to Julian Assange, it's all a conspiracy anyway.

12:00AM

How celebrities celebrated the eclipse

Kim Kardashian shared a rare picture of her kids ahead of the eclipse.

 Katy Perry shared a picture of some makeshift eclipse-watching glasses.

 Gigi Hadid shared a picture that recalled the last solar eclipse in the US.

 Elizabeth Banks of the Hunger Games referenced Game of Thrones in her post. 

11:41PM

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.

11:27PM

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. 

 And the Daily Mail mocked the president's perma-tan.

10:41PM

Bonnie Tyler sings Total Eclipse of the Heart on cruise ship to celebrate solar eclipse

 

10:30PM

Lady Gaga: 'Take me to your planet'

 

9:34PM

Eclipse reaches France

Great image of the partial eclipse over the Saint-They Chapel:

The Saint-They Chapel is seen in silhouette at sunset during a partial solar eclipse as the moon passes in front of the sun seen at the Pointe du Van Credit: Reuters

 

9:27PM

Meteosat captures unique eclipse images

 

9:13PM

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.

Gloomy skies stopped Britons from seeing a partial solar eclipse Credit: TWITTER / @ALITWONK

However, many were left underwhelmed and unable to see anything at all due to the cloud cover blocking their view.

Read the full article.

8:32PM

Barron Trump joins Donald and Melania to watch total eclipse from the White House

 

8:24PM

The Bush presidents and family enjoy the moment

 

8:20PM

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."

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.

 

7:55PM

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.

Trump watches the eclipse  Credit: Reuters 

7:54PM

'It was wonderful - and I wish I could do it again' 

The eclipse in Depoe Bay, Oregon Credit: Reuters 

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.

Casper, Wyoming Credit: Getty 

"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."

7:11PM

Millions watch the eclipse 

Americans cheered as the total solar eclipse spread across the country.

1. 

Redmond, Ore Credit: AP

2.

The solar eclipse  Credit: AP

3.

Madison the dog watches the solar eclipse Credit: Reuters 

4.

The sun's corona is visible as the moon passes in front of the sun Credit: AFP

5. 

A crowd gathers in front of the Hollywood sign  Credit: AP

 

6:40PM

Here’s Bonnie Tyler singing Total Eclipse of the Heart on a cruise ship 

 The perfect way to celebrate a solar eclipse ... 

 

6:32PM

The best eclipse photos on social media 

Twitter users have been sharing their eclipse photos: 

6:19PM

The sun's 'disappearing' act - the solar eclipse 

eclipse 
eclipse 

 

6:11PM

Latest eclipse images

Oregon Credit: Reuters 
Banner, Wyoming Credit: Nasa 
Depoe Bay, Oregon Credit: Reuters 

 

6:06PM

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.

"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!"

5:32PM

Twitter reacts 

The solar eclipse begins over Salem, Oregon Credit: Nasa 

 

5:30PM

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: 

People set up cameras and telescopes to watch the solar eclipse at South Mike Sedar Park Credit: Getty 
People wait for the gates to open at Saluki Stadium on the campus of Southern Illinois University to watch the solar eclipse Credit: Getty 
Cheerleaders use solar viewing glasses before the big event  Credit: Reuters 
A group try out their eclipse glasses Credit: AP
A group of eclipse fans set up their tripods as they wait for the beginning of the solar eclipse  Credit: Reuters 

5:13PM

Matt on the solar eclipse 

The Telegraph's cartoonist Matt predicts what Donald Trump might tweet about the eclipse: 

Credit: Matt / The Telegraph 

  See more of the best of Matt from the last 20 years here

5:06PM

Can we reschedule? 

One mother asked if the solar eclipse could be rescheduled. Sorry, but no can do. 

 

5:03PM

'Lord, give us a sign'

Eclipse signs have been spotted on churches and motorways:  

 

4:54PM

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.

Members of the public try out their eclipse glasses Credit: AP

"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."

4:37PM

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. 

3:51PM

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…

3:39PM

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."

 

2:47PM

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.

The field itself is fallow and after much deliberation Mr Cansler decided to allow people, including NASA, to watch the eclipse from it.

A family sets up a tent at their campsite at sunrise for the solar eclipse in Hopkinsville Credit: AP

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.

Local Jim Cleveland sets up a camera at his campsite at sunrise Credit: AP

"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."

2:33PM

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.

 

2:02PM

Conspiracy theories  

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.

 

1:32PM

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 …

 

12:44PM

Public service announcement: drive safely

Interstate 80 traffic info boards right now in Eastern Nebraska.

12:34PM

Test your knowledge

 

12:33PM

Where to see the eclipse in the UK

Where to see it | UK solar eclipse

 

12:30PM

America prepares 

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...

Visitors wait and adjust telescopes Solartown in Madras, Oregon  Credit: Barcroft Media
Festival goers dance at the Oregon Eclipse Festival Credit: AFP
A hot air balloon rises above Solartown in Madras, Oregon. Tens of thousands from all over the world have decended on the little town Credit:  Barcroft Media
Visitors sit in stopped traffic trying to get into Solartown in Madras, Oregon Credit:  Barcroft Media
A vendor arranges decorated solar viewing glasses during an arts and crafts fair ahead of a total solar eclipse on the campus of Southern Illinois University Credit:  Bloomberg

12:18PM

The jokes have already started

... And they're totally awful

12:14PM

Turtle eclipse 

Terry Pratchett fans rejoice, the Discworld has delivered a flipping good graphic...

 

12:11PM

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.

Read the full dispatch here

 

12:04PM

Where to see the eclipse if you're in America..

Where to see it | The Great American solar eclipse

 

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