For 1.5 hours today, the moon completely blocked the sun during the first total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. in 99 years. Americans and visitors from across the world traveled thousands of miles to marvel at the sight.
CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy was within the path of totality in Casper, Wyoming.
They arrived before sun-up at a large hillside overlooking the city of Casper. Sky watchers, from the casual to the more sophisticated, prepared to soak up the sights on an unusual day.
“This is the first one in a long time that’s come through the central United States and so it’s an opportunity to come see it,” spectator Aaron Clevenson said.
Clevenson runs a space observatory in Houston, Texas, but came to Wyoming to be in a 110 kilometer wide stretch across the U.S. where the moon fully obscured the sun.
By mid-morning, the moon began to take a bite out of the sun. Eclipse viewers readied their cameras and donned special glasses to protect their eyes from the sun’s rays.
Two men from China, now living in the U.S., said it was a moment they’ve long looked forward to.
“Well, it’s always in our mind,” spectator Ke Ma said. “It’s a once in a lifetime event and we’re just really into it.”
The sky noticeably darkened as the moment of totality neared. Then, day turned to night.
A ring around the sun’s perimeter, the corona, encircled the moon. Orange light appeared on the horizon. It was almost otherworldly.
“It was just this weird thing in the sky hanging there,” one viewer said.
Though not pitch black, the day felt more like night. But just 2.5 minutes after totality began, the sun started to reappear.
Some said what they’d just witnessed was beyond mere words.
“You can read as much, you can hear other people’s accounts of it but until you experience it yourself…” one amazed spectator said.
Another was more succinct.
“They aren’t lying. Nothing compares.”