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North Americans elated by total solar eclipse

The moon covers the sun during a total solar eclipse Monday, April 8, 2024, as seen from Carbondale, Ill.
The moon covers the sun during a total solar eclipse Monday, April 8, 2024, as seen from Carbondale, Ill. Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Euronews with AP
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The next total eclipse will be on 12 August 2026 and will cover large areas of the northern hemisphere.

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A chilly, midday darkness fell across North America on Monday as a total solar eclipse raced across the continent, thrilling those lucky enough to behold the spectacle through clear skies.

Eclipse mania gripped all of Mexico, the US and Canada, as the moon swept in front of the sun, blotting out daylight. Almost everyone in North America was guaranteed at least a partial eclipse, weather permitting.

It was the continent’s biggest eclipse audience ever, with a couple hundred million people living in or near the shadow’s path, plus scores of out-of-towners flocking in.

Just east of Dallas, Texas, hundreds gathered at Mesquite’s downtown area as they cheered and whistled as the clouds parted in the final minutes before totality. As the sun finally became cloaked, the crowd grew louder, whipping off their eclipse glasses to soak in the unforgettable view of the sun’s corona, or spiky outer atmosphere, and Venus shining brilliantly off to the right.

“Oh God, it’s so dark,” marvelled Aiyana Brown, 14, who watched alongside her grandfather, Mesquite Mayor Daniel Aleman Jr. “I’m a huge science nerd, and this is amazing.”

Sara Laneau, of Westfield, Vermont, woke up at 4 am Monday to take her 16-year-old niece to nearby Jay Peak ski resort to catch the eclipse after a morning on the slopes.

“This will be a first from me and an experience of a lifetime,” said Laneau, who was dressed in a purple metallic ski suit with a solar eclipse T-shirt underneath.

As the darkness of totality reached the Mexican resort city of Mazatlán, the faces of spectators were illuminated only by the screens of their phones.

At Niagara Falls State Park, tourists streamed in under cloudy skies with wagons, strollers, coolers and lawn chairs. Park officials expected a large crowd at the popular site overlooking the falls.

The out-of-sync darkness lasted up to 4 minutes and 28 seconds. That's almost twice as long as it was during the US coast-to-coast eclipse seven years ago. It will be another 21 years before the US sees another total solar eclipse on this scale.

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