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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

US mesmerised by rare solar eclipse - in pictures

Millions soaked up the eerie stillness of the first total solar eclipse to stretch coast to coast in almost a century

Sky-gazers stood transfixed across North America Monday as the Sun vanished behind the Moon in a rare total eclipse that swept the continent coast-to-coast for the first time in nearly a century.

Millions of die-hard eclipse chasers and amateur star watchers alike converged in cities along the path of totality, a 70-mile wide swath cutting through 14 US states, where the Moon briefly blocked out all light from the Sun.

"It was incredibly beautiful. I am moved to tears," said Heather Riser, a 54-year-old librarian from Virginia, sitting on a blanket in Charleston's grassy Waterfront Park where thousands had gathered to watch.

Festivals, rooftop parties, weddings, camping trips and astronomy meet-ups were held nationwide for what was likely most heavily photographed and documented eclipse in modern times, thanks to the era of social media.

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America gets solar eclipse mania