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Solar eclipse 2017

The near total solar eclipse is seen over midtown Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Solar eclipse 2017: How the world watched rare celestial spectacle

A coast-to-coast total solar eclipse dazzled Americans on Monday, for the first time in 99 years.

Thousands secured viewing spots across the US to gaze at the once-in-a-lifetime celestial event, while millions more across the world hoped for a glimpse.

Gloomy skies were set to stop Britons seeing a partial solareclipse on Monday evening, forecasters warned.

Just before sunset the moon was set to appear to take a “bite” out of the sun in a phenomenon lasting roughly 40 minutes.

The mid-point was set occur at different times around the UK, but overcast weather was likely to obscure the spectacle for most, the Met Office said.

Millions of Americans gathered along a stretch from Oregon to South Carolina to watch the spectacle.

Southern-most Illinois was set to have the longest period of darkness at two minutes and 44 seconds.

It was expected to be the most observed and most photographed eclipse in history.

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