For more than 90 minutes, millions of people admired on Monday ecstatic the total “great eclipse” of Sol, the first to cross the United States in 99 years.
At 18:48 GMT, the sun reappeared behind the moon in Charleston, South Carolina, in the southeast of the country. It was the last stage of the eclipse before disappearing from the American continent.
At 17:16, the luminous star had begun to be hidden behind the Moon in Oregon, in the northwest. The beginning of the phenomenon was greeted with cheers and cheers from thousands of spectators.
Heather Riser, a 54-year-old woman who traveled there from Virginia to put herself in the path of the eclipse, left in the dark a diagonal strip of territory that was going From northwest to southeast. Like her, tens of thousands of people moved there to take advantage of the unique moment.
In all corners of the country, even where the eclipse was only partly perceived, telescopes and cameras were ubiquitous. In Washington, President Donald Trump observed the phenomenon with his wife Melania from the Truman balcony of the White House. For a moment, he looked up at the sky without glasses before one of his assistants emphatically asked him not to.
Two minutes of happiness
The total eclipse of Sun left the spectators in the dark for just over two minutes. It was visible in a strip of 113 kilometers wide, to become the first to cross the American continent from coast to coast since 1918.
Twelve million people, who live in this privileged corridor, were in the front row to observe the spectacle.
They were accompanied by millions of tourists and fans who approached this diagonally.
In South Carolina, people feared for a long time that the clouds would water the party, and visitors begged for better weather. “It does not really matter whether or not we see the eclipse. It allowed us to put a pin on the map” and travel, says Nick Willder, a 59-year-old Briton.
Eventually luck and the sky were on his side, and in Charleston, where thousands of people were heading toward the coast early to find a good point of observation, the spectators could be the last witnesses.
In the rest of the United States, where the eclipse was only partial, the question that most circulated among the population throughout the weekend was: Where can I find protection lenses?
The authorities and the media tirelessly repeated the security measures for days: with no excuse should the eclipse be seen without the famous lenses or, otherwise, the retina could be burned.
“I’m not sure I can see it again”
In Los Angeles, thousands of people flocked to the Griffith Observatory, which crowns the surrounding hills. Many were walking to avoid traffic jams and parking lots, although in that city the eclipse was visible only in 60%.
Some viewers had made their own projectors
Of cardboard and tape. Exclamations and enthusiastic laughter
Were fired just as the moon “bit” the sun.
“It’s nice, there’s no better place to see it, with people who are fond of us,” said Laura Thieme, 49, who lives in suburban Los Angeles with her 8-year-old son. I’m not sure I can see something like that again. ”
The Nasa set up a special device to keep up with the event: 11 spacecraft, 50 hot air balloons and three aircraft were deployed to study the phenomenon, which was transmitted in its entirety on the website of the government agency.
As darkness settled on them, many Americans
They had to quietly escape from their labors to observe
This moment of astronomical history.
For those who were far from the alignment of the Moon and the Sun, do not worry: the next total solar eclipse will occur in less than seven years, in April 2024.