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Total solar eclipse hits Mexico, US, Canada



Eclipse mania gripped North America on Monday as a breathtaking celestial spectacle observed by tens of millions of people offered a rare convergence of commercial and scientific opportunities — and an excuse to party.

The Moon’s shadow plunged the Pacific coast of Mexico into total darkness at 11:07 am local time (1807 GMT) and swept across the United States at supersonic speed before it returned to the ocean over Canada’s Atlantic coast just under an hour and a half after landfall.

Festivals, viewing parties, and even mass weddings were planned along the eclipse’s “path of totality,” where the Moon could be seen completely obscuring the Sun for up to a few minutes — weather permitting. Cloud cover played spoilsport over parts of Texas.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador visited Sinaloa to witness firsthand the eclipse from the resort of Mazatlan, describing the event as a “very beautiful, unforgettable day.”

Thousands gathered in Mexico City, just outside the path of totality. “These are opportunities given by Earth and nature that we must seize,” 29-year-old artist Mariana Juarez told AFP.

This year’s path of totality is 115 miles (185 kilometers) wide and home to nearly 32 million Americans, with an additional 150 million living less than 200 miles from the strip.

The next total solar eclipse that can be seen from a large part of North America won’t come around until 2044.


Businesses capitalized on the excitement with special events, while hotels and short-term rentals in prime viewing locations were booked solid for months in advance.

At the Stonehenge II park in Ingram, Texas — a replica of the prehistoric arrangement of stones in England — eclipse watchers gathered from across the world, screaming and cheering at the moment of totality.

Jeni Lyn Hunter, 57, and her husband Charles Guillory, 60, had traveled from Floresville, Texas. The couple identified as “pagans” and wore Merlin hats.

“It means a lot to me because I have stage four cancer but I’m not giving up, this is a rebirth of the Sun of life,” Hunter told AFP.

And in Russellville, Arkansas, more than 300 couples were reportedly set to exchange vows at “A Total Eclipse of the Heart” mass wedding ceremony.

Delta Airlines has planned two special flights along the path, while many schools in the zone shut for the day.

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