EA rare total solar eclipse observed in North America began on Monday. The moon's shadow plunged the west coast of Mexico into total darkness at 11:07 a.m. (8:07 p.m. CEST) and then continued across the United States into Canada. The area where the sun will be completely eclipsed is about 185 kilometers wide and includes the American cities of Dallas, Indianapolis and Buffalo, among others.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador observed the astronomical phenomenon in the Pacific seaside resort of Mazatlán and spoke of a “very beautiful, unforgettable day.”

The last time people in the United States had the opportunity to observe a solar eclipse was in 2017 – albeit from a smaller area than this time. Nearly 32 million people live in places where Monday's eclipse will be visible, and another 150 million live within a 320-kilometer radius. Most of the hotel rooms in the affected area were fully booked for months. The next solar eclipse in North America will not occur until 2044.

“Deep respect for the universe”

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun completely. NASA also calls it a “cosmic masterpiece”. “Solar eclipses have a very special power,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said at a press conference. “They move people and give them a deep respect for the universe.”

A woman looks up at the sky on an observation deck in New York.

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A heavenly spectacle

People are waiting for a total solar eclipse

The astronomical sight cannot be seen from Europe. A partial solar eclipse can only be seen on the western edge of the continent – for example, in parts of Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Great Britain, as well as in Iceland. The last total solar eclipse was observed in Germany in August 1999, the next one will take place in September 2081.

Preparations for the sky viewing game on Earth have been going on for months: parties, festivals and even mass weddings have been organized in many places for joint viewing, where special eye protection glasses are also distributed free of charge. . More than 300 couples wanted to tie the knot during Monday's solar eclipse in Russellville, Arkansas, according to media reports.

Many schools in neighborhoods where the total eclipse could be seen said they would be closed for the day. In addition, millions of people living elsewhere have booked trips. The authorities warned of a very high traffic volume. However, cloud was forecast for some affected areas in the US.