Total solar eclipse swept over North America; the next one will be in 2044

In Mexico City, people gathered around the iconic Angel of Independence and at the main campus of the National Autonomous University (UNAM).

Johan Alvarado, 45, and her husband Paul Beltrán, 44, took their young daughter Valentina to admire the phenomenon. “Imagine! That’s why we’re here, because of the excitement of experiencing it and because the baby is having the first experience,” Alvarado said.

“They are opportunities of the earth and nature that we must take advantage of,” said Mariana Juárez, a 29-year-old visual artist.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, present in the city of Mazatlán, exclaimed “Ah!” as the sun became a crown of fire around the moon.

“A total solar eclipse is one of the most moving events one can experience,” said astrophysicist Jane Rigby, lead scientist on NASA’s Webb Project. “Feel your sensations. They are part of the universe,” he added.

This year’s flight path, which has already touched the first states of the United States, between Texas and Maine, was 185 kilometers wide and covered a region where almost 32 million Americans live. Another 150 million live within 200 miles (320 km) of the strip, and those further away were able to enjoy a partial solar eclipse or watch an Internet broadcast provided by NASA.

“It was great. I loved it,” said Gary Christensen, a lawyer who traveled from the state of Oregon to the small town of Ingram, Texas, where the phenomenon was observed despite cloudy skies.

In Montreal, where the weather was ideal for observing the solar eclipse. “It’s much better than I imagined,” enthused Lomie Sérey Larose, 26.

The next total solar eclipse that can be viewed from much of North America will not occur until 2044.

safety first

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is exactly between the Earth and the Sun, temporarily blocking its light in broad daylight.

The sun is about 400 times larger than the moon, but 400 times further away, so both appear similar in size.

Authorities developed safety guidelines, particularly the need to use special glasses to look at the sun and avoid eye damage.

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Former President Donald Trump, who was defenseless in the face of the eclipse during the last total solar eclipse in the United States in 2017, seized on this year’s fever to launch a campaign ad featuring a giant silhouette of his head blocking sunlight, heralding his return as “the most important moment in human history.”

“You will hear screams”

Businesses capitalized on the anticipation with special events, while hotels and short-term rentals in prime eclipse-viewing locations have been sold out for months.

“We have people from all 50 states, even Alaska and Hawaii. There are tourists from the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Israel and New Zealand,” said Jennyth Peterson, events manager at Stonehenge II Park in Ingram, Texas, where there is a replica of England’s prehistoric structure.

“Even when it’s cloudy, it gets incredibly dark, especially when it’s cloudy,” said Jeff Snyder, a 68-year-old engineer who traveled from California with his wife and brought his own telescope. “Everyone will go crazy and there will be screaming.”

In Cleveland, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame planned a four-day “solar festival” with live music.

In Russellville, Arkansas, 300 couples celebrated a mass wedding themed “A Total Eclipse of the Heart,” inspired by the famous Bonnie Tyler song.

The solar eclipse could also be admired from the air: some companies planned flights along the path of darkness.

Astronauts on the International Space Station saw the moon’s shadow cross the Earth’s surface.

Publications

The event is also of scientific interest. NASA planned to launch three small sounding rockets from Virginia in the eastern United States before, during and shortly after the eclipse.

The goal: to measure the changes caused by darkness in the upper part of the Earth’s atmosphere, the ionosphere, through which the majority of communication signals pass.

During a solar eclipse, the solar corona, the outer layer of the sun’s atmosphere, becomes particularly visible. You will watch closely: solar flares occur here.

The next total solar eclipse visible in the United States (except Alaska) will occur in 2044. Before that, there will be a total solar eclipse in Spain in 2026.

SPRING: AFP

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